October 5th is “Do Something Nice Day." Most of us have heard of “random acts of kindness" through different social media platforms. I personally know how participating in (as well as finding yourself on the receiving end of) these acts of kindness is beyond rewarding. With all the crazy that is going on in our world, why not spread some cheer to a total stranger or friend? Here are eight ways you can use random acts of kindness to help those in your military community:
1. Babysit your friend's children (for free)Offer to watch the kids while a friend takes their spouse on a much-needed date or gets in some “me time." With all that we face in our military lives, having the chance to reconnect with a spouse (or get a hair cut in peace!) is important in marriage and parenthood. Even if your friend’s spouse is deployed and they only manage to sneak in a longer, uninterrupted Skype date while you spend some time with their little ones, offering a break can mean so much to someone.
2. BakeDrop some baked goods and a thank you note off for the hard-working security team your next time through the gate. Or take some goodies to your spouse’s unit or squadron. On this one, you’ll want to look into if there are any rules against it first-- but who doesn’t love a nice, sweet treat on a random Tuesday? Those who work an often thankless job will definitely appreciate this gesture. This also a great way to test out that newest pumpkin-inspired cookie recipe you found on Pinterest. Get the kids involved by helping create and decorate.
3. Pitch inTake over household chores for a friend who is home alone. Cutting the grass, folding laundry, cooking meals and carpooling kiddos may seem like every day occurrences, but can feel daunting for those running a household alone during a deployment or TDY. Surprise a friend with a visit where you devote time to exclusively checking things off their to-do list (or hire a landscaper/house cleaner for a few hours while you two share a cup of coffee, catch a yoga class or hit up a favorite lunch spot). It could take more stress off them than you know.
4. Keep track of paperworkOffer to help with important records-keeping during a deployment. One military spouse I interviewed stated she is given “unspeakable peace” during her spouse’s deployments when a friend keeps record of their families’ important information, wishes and desires, and an action plan to oversee before family can arrive from out-of-town and help. The friend knows to use these records if something disastrous were to happen to the military member, spouse or both. It is a heavy topic to consider and discuss, but can bring peace of mind.
5. VolunteerGive your time to a veteran organization or nursing home. Fortunately, the military has come a long way in its support efforts for active duty and their families. Many times veterans are forgotten after they separate. Consider taking some time to support them through volunteer work. Click here to“find volunteer opportunities” on Milserve.org.
6. Purchase a cup of coffee or a meal for a strangerGive a gift of generosity. Consider buying someone’s groceries for them at the commissary. We often spend our time and energy toward those in our circles, but why not surprise a total stranger? We never know what someone may be facing, and your generosity could just make that military family member or veteran’s entire day a little brighter.
7. Offer your undivided attentionSo many times we find ourselves locked into our phone, tablet or computer screens. Try as we might, these devices can also distract us even when getting together with friends (raises hand: guilty!). Providing your absolute undivided attention and listening ear to your military spouse or friend can mean the world on a hard day. We all know the benefit of venting -- being truly heard without judgment or unsolicited advice, and providing that to someone can be extremely beneficial.
8. DonateLastly, consider making a donation to a cause specific to military needs. A lot of organizations see end-of-the-year donations, but why not surprise them with a new donation in October? Click here to learn how to support the military community through military charities (there are over 400,000 from which to choose!).
It’s your turn! What acts of kindness have meant the most to you? Please share in the comments!