RAOK round-up documents the random acts of kindness or volunteerism that we have been able to do for others over the last month. Our focus is to do something for someone each week. Listing them here celebrates this goal, and we hope may help to make you more mindful of what you have to give too.
I really thought that our zest for RAOKs would wane in the winter weather, but with our list of ideas on the freezer and continued discussion in our home of what others are going through, there have never-the-less still been new sparks of service and kindness alongside the longer term ones. A lot have centred around food....
- Took 17 mini muffins to a customer service person celebrating their 17 years company service
- Bought breakfast/morning tea for a homeless guy
- (Electra) started training a couple of young women on making espresso; alongside mentoring another couple of young people on work placement - this oddly is my 'time-out'
- Ran an errand for a shopkeeper who couldn't get away
- Vega said 'yes' when asked to fill in for another volunteer on a Saturdays at the Orphan's Aid op shop - this was her first time; she was subsequently asked back a second time too
- Gave away 100 balloons, 60 lollipops, 50 bookmarks (above) and some star stamps to those at a special middle-of-the-year Matariki Night Market
- Made muffins; soup; and dropped in mandarins for a terminally ill cancer patient and family
- Vega did another month waitressing at the Welcome Wednesday cafe which is getting busier and busier
- Drove 1100km on a weekend round-trip to say our last good-byes at the bedsides of (Electra & Atlas') grandparents
- Filled out a customer service feedback form for a supermarket worker who gave joyful service
- Began dropping a young person home several times a week (as Vega had to be picked up anyway)
- Shopped for someone else when travelling to a neighbouring city
- Did myself (Electra) a kindness and bought 10 (second hand) clothing items for a grand total of $39
- Wiped down the inside of a friend's fridge
- Gemma organised a surprise birthday morning tea for a neighbour-friend
- Vega volunteered as a hair model again to help a hairdressing student complete her assessments
- Re-hung clothing as I came upon it in a retail store, that'd fallen on the floor, or off one end of the hanger etc
It's sometimes been hard for me to be satisfied with the little random acts of kindness that I can do, as I tend to compare myself with what others might be able to.
Take for example the mini muffins. I baked them alongside our family's lunch which we simply ate with butter or golden syrup, but gave them away plain. No icing, no spreads, no fancy muffin cases, on a plastic plate in a plastic bag; with a child's homemade card that I quickly wrote at the last minute (moreso in case the person wasn't there). I then start to wonder what the recipient may think. Perhaps they can bake with their eyes closed, perhaps they know how to present gifts stupendously well, perhaps they don't even like those type of muffins, perhaps ...well you can imagine the scenarios.
It's hard to accept that if you do what you can with what you've got where you are that this is all that you can expect of yourself. Other people will have their own expectations of you biased by the context of their lives and having never walked a metre let alone a mile in yours, but you will be aware of your 'cost'/sacrifice.
It reminds me of that story of a boy gifting his teacher a shell, but the real gift was that he walked for ages to the one place the shell could be found, and the underlying moral was that the journey is sometimes part of the value of the gift.
Our RAOKs however-sized at least take the focus off ourselves and our situation for a moment and trying to shine a little light, hope and kindness into someone else's life - who knows what they are going through.