Having spent my whole life in Portland, there is one thing I know about living here, and that is Portland is full of some of the most kind and generous people on the planet! I have always been proud of the kindness shown in our city. It’s no wonder Travel and Leisure rates it as one of the 15 friendliest cities in America.
February 17th is National Random Acts of Kindness day, and here is a list of five ideas of how moms and kids can honor it in Portland:
I recently discovered the Vancouver “Rocks!” Facebook group and fell in love with the community there. The Portland Rocks group is newer and smaller, but also a great group of community members. So what is a “Rocks” group? This idea to spread cheer started in Port Angeles and has quickly spread throughout the country. The members of these communities paint rocks and then hide them around the towns they live in as a way of spreading kindness to those that find them. They’ve been hidden and found in parks and parking lots all over town! I was thinking it would be fun to paint some rocks with my kids and take them down and hide them at the Ronald McDonald House.
2. Snack Baskets at Hospitals
After my son was born he had to spend a week in the NICU at Randall Children’s Hospital. It was one of the most stressful times of my life. I remember not wanting to leave the NICU for something to eat or drink. A great random act of kindness could be helping your kids put together a snack basket to leave near the NICU or any other hospital ward or waiting rooms.
3. Crayons and Coloring Books
Perhaps you’re in the mood to help out a struggling mom. Taking crayons and coloring books to your local children’s services office or WIC office could really brighten the day of some moms and kids waiting in long lines for food benefits.
4. Compliment Another Parent and Child
Chances are you’ll run into another parent and child while you’re out and about on February 17th. Find a way to compliment them. Smile and tell the other parent how well-behaved their child is or comment, or what a good parent they are, or even something as simple as how cute their hair or shirt is. I know when I’m out with my kids I love to hear things like that!
5. Pay for the Person Behind You in the Drive-Thru
My kids LOVE this one! It doesn’t matter if it’s Starbucks, Wendy’s, or the carwash, my kids LOVE to pay it backward or make a drive-thru difference. There’s more than one way to do this. I’ve discovered that my kids find it most exciting when I hand the window cashier a lump sum (like a $20 bill) and tell them to divided it up between the next few cars. My kids love to guess how far the money will go and how many people will be affected by the gesture.
Keep your eyes peeled for ways you can show kindness to others. It doesn’t have to be a huge gesture to have an effect on someone’s life, and it doesn’t have to just be on February 17. Let’s remind ourselves and everyone else that Portland really is one of the friendliest places in the world by showing one another a little extra kindness, taking special care to pass the sentiment on down to our kids. That way Portland will stay friendly for generations to come!