The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Forget resolutions; random kindness my style


January 4, 2018

It was a phrase reportedly born from doodlings on a restaurant placemat: “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.”

Writer Anne Herbert gets the credit. The place was Sausalito, California, in 1982.

It must have caught on quickly, because it wasn’t long before I had a shirt with that emblazoned across the front.

A decade later, the editors of Conari Press put together a collection of tips and stories called “Random Acts of Kindness,” and invited readers to join the “kindness revolution.”

Some of ideas it suggests are on the hokey side. For example, I would be slow to select a random name in the phone book and send that person a greeting card, and I’m not sure if you could really “slip a $20 bill in to the pocketbook of a needy friend (or stranger)” without getting slapped … or even arrested.

But many of the book’s ideas are simple, free (or at least inexpensive), and well worth replicating.

A few I heartily endorse:

• “Send a letter to a teacher you once had letting her know about the difference she made in your life.”

• “Visit a neighbor with a bouquet of flowers for no reason at all.”

• “For one week, act on every single thought of generosity that arises spontaneously in your heart and notice what happens as a consequence.”

• “Write a note to the boss of someone who has helped you, thanking him or her for having such a great employee.”

My random acts of kindness shirt wore out long ago, but the sentiment remains as fresh as the day it was written.

The concept of kindness got another public boost with the publication of R.J. Palacio’s young adult novel, “Wonder,” in 2012. That heart-felt book reached a wider audience last year with the release of the movie of the same name.

Palacio’s words on kindness are quoted often, and with good reason. She gets it.

“If every person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than is necessary,” Palacio wrote, “the world really would be a better place.”

As we start a new year, it’s a concept worth embracing.

I’m not much for resolutions, but random kindness and senseless acts of beauty? Count me in.

Betty Williamson wishes you a kind, gentle and beautiful 2018. You may reach her at:


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