Today is Martin Luther King’s day of service in USA. A lot of people in America keep this day aside for doing one day of service. If we go into figures, this day will see a surge in volunteering as many communities and organisations would feed the homeless or spend a day in orphanage or plant trees etc.
But do we really need a day of service to volunteer? Should volunteering always be something we consciously do or can it be a way of life? We had earlier defined volunteering as an activity undertaken by one’s own choice and for the benefit of someone else.
What are little acts of kindness such as smiling at a stranger and making him/ her smile; saying thank you to a cleaner or going ahead to help someone cross the street or move down the steps, if not volunteering?
I first e-met Rebecca on twitter and ever since I’ve been following her blog. What’s special about her blog? Rebecca’s blog The Pledge of Kindness is her travel journal. I call it a travel journal because she is on a journey. A journey of 365 days of kindness that started on 1st January 2013. Small acts sometimes spontaneous, sometimes thoughtful and always bringing a smile and lots of warmth like leaving popcorn on the movie rental machine; passing on the good luck; doing activity bags for pediatric cancer patients (well that one’s actually her daughter’s and she is chipping in) or paying it forward. What I liked most was that she doesn’t plan her act of kindness for the day in advance; the opportunity somehow presents itself. Almost like a divine intervention… she just has to grab them! Just like every one of us can.
Rebecca rightly says:
Kindness takes many forms, big and small. It can be a gesture given or a sweet word spoken. It can be free or grandiose. Kindness has the ability to create more kindness…and I believe if everyone shared in this idea…the world would be so much better off.
The idea of kindness is as old as man himself (or only older). But somewhere many of us became too busy, too focused to see it or pass it forward. Now and then, we just need to remind ourselves. Volunteering doesn’t need to be glamorized; it doesn’t always need to be a well thought out activity for which you need to put time and resources aside. No reason such as “I want to volunteer, but can’t find the time to do it” will ever come in your way once volunteering becomes a way of life. A gentle word, a kind smile, a helping hand… what would you be today?
Or as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is:
‘What are you doing for others?’”