The Butterfly Effects

The Butterfly Effects

By Rachel Birdsell

In a few days, I will turn 45. I gave up big celebrations for my birthday many years ago; although I’m not beyond turning down a piece of cake should someone offer it to me. This birthday I wanted to do something special. I didn’t want a party with lots of presents, but instead I wanted to do something to share my happiness. I wanted to give a sliver of joy to people around me with the hopes that I’ll make their day a little bit brighter. So, for this year’s birthday, I’m going to carry out 45 acts of random kindness.

I think that random acts of kindness have more impact than we realize. Most of the time, we don’t see an immediate effect, so we don’t realize that we have the potential to make a huge difference in someone else’s day. If they pass the kindness on, and so on and so on, we start a ripple of kindness that has the potential of making a massive change in the world. And if being able to impact the world doesn’t excite you, you probably need to check for a pulse. If you want to give me a gift, and I’m sure you all do, you can join me in acting out random acts of kindness. You don’t have to do 45; even one will make a difference. Your tiny flutter of kindness can turn into a whirlwind of happiness.

Here is part of my 45 List of Random Acts of Kindness to help you get started:

• Buy a dozen flowers and hand them out to people on the street.

• Pay the coffee tab for the person behind you in line at the coffee shop

• Make sack lunches and hand them out to the homeless

• Drop some coins in the parking meters that are expired to save drivers from a parking ticket

• Leave some extra change in the vending machine

• Leave inspiring post it notes on the mirror in public bathrooms

• Create a small piece of art and leave in a public space

• Visit a nursing home

• Make a happy music CD and give it to someone who looks like they need it

• Give something away on Craigslist (something cool, not your broken heating pad)

• Give an inspiring book or a book of jokes to someone who needs it

• Send a random person in the phone book a card or small gift

Hopefully, this will get you motivated to go out there and spread a little kindness. I know that I’m going to try my best to practice at least one act of kindness a day. If we all do at least one, we’re on our way to spreading a huge wave of love and happiness around the world and the world definitely can’t get enough of either.

Rachel Birdsell is a freelance writer and artist. You can drop her a note at

Categories: Commentary