Random Acts of Kindness

1valchloesmall  Anne here. 
 I recently attended a graduation ceremony. Before I was published I was a high school teacher for years and then taught in the tertiary sector, so I’ve attended dozens of graduations but to be honest, I never get bored. Behind each award, each graduate clutching their certificate, each parent or relative watching proudly, there’s a story. So even though I’m not teaching anymore, when I was invited to this one, I was happy to go.

There’s something about graduation, the celebration of people’s achievements, the sense of one world closing and a bright new world opening up — whether it’s kids finishing up at elementary school, or adults, young and old graduating from university. I love the excitement of awards, the emotion of the speeches, the sense of achievement and the pride in the family and friends watching. 
Graduation  

This ceremony, however, wasn’t the usual high school or college graduation; this was a course for disaffected youth — teenagers and young adults who have failed in the school system (or who the school system has failed, depending on your point of view.)

The purpose of the course is to bring these kids back to education and prepare them for further training or work. But it’s more, much more. I’ve worked with kids like this most of my life and I know it’s not easy; some of them have years of truanting and trouble behind them.  Many arrive cynical and with a chip on their shoulder. They’ve usually had tough lives and quite often they don’t believe in anything, least of all themselves. And that’s the saddest thing of all.

    So the underlying purpose of this kind of course is (I believe) first and foremost to rebuild the kids’ belief in themselves. I won’t go into the kind of curriculum they studied, or the style of teaching their teachers used. I’m just going to talk about one small part of the course, that began almost by accident and has become a cornerstone of the course’s success: random acts of kindness.

(By the way, none of the images used here have any relation to the students I’m talking about. They’re just illustrations.)

Teen      I won’t go into the incident that started it all. Suffice it to say that it began with a particularly difficult group. Nothing they did was good enough, they were so hard on themselves, so entrenched in their view of themselves as failures—not that they cared (or showed they cared, for of course they did.) 

      However a change grew out of one small random act of unexpected kindness from one of the seemingly unlikeliest of the students.  When the staff discussed it later, they decided they wanted to reward this kind of behavior publicly as well as privately. So an award system was born for random acts of kindness or RAKs.

    Now kids who’ve been naughty most of their lives are what we in Australia call “bush lawyers” — they can and will argue their way around most things and sniff out loopholes the way a dog sniffs out a buried bone, so the staff developed an elaborate set of rules for these awards. The acts of kindness could not be deliberately performed to earn award points.  “Sucking up” behavior would earn nothing, acts of kindness could be performed anywhere on anyone — neighbors, cleaning staff, other students. They had to be witnessed and awarded by a staff member freely and unsolicited. Points were really hard to get, but the appreciation that came from staff when a point was earned was warm and unfeigned and sincere. 
Teen_jobs  

    Frequently the kids were shocked when awarded points for some RAK they hadn’t even realized they’d performed.  It shocked (and sometimes embarrassed) them that anyone noticed. It surprised them that anyone cared. It prompted much individual thought and some discussion within the student group. And slowly it changed them.

    I was actually there when one was awarded. One lunchtime, a staff member had just had some bad news on the phone. One of the most difficult boys noticed she was on the verge of tears, and without knowing what the problem was, quietly sent the other students away, then got her a cup of tea and fetched another staff member. 

    The head of the organization (who is tiny, tough and a powerhouse of energy) saw the whole thing from her office. She’d been about to go out to the staff member when she witnessed this random act of kindness from a boy she’d only seen make trouble.

    After the problem was sorted, she found the boy, hugged him (to his public embarrassment and secret pleasure) thanked him, and awarded her first ever points for a RAK. He gained great kudos from “finally cracking the boss.”

    Random acts of kindness.  Praise. Respect. Small words. Huge concepts.
Kindness_big  

    At the graduation ceremony this boy went up to receive a number of different awards, academic and non-academic. Nobody was there to applaud him, no family, no friends except the ones in his class. But he walked tall. 

        Yep, I love graduation ceremonies. There’s a story behind every award.

So have you been to any graduations lately? Any stories to share?  Or a random act of kindness to tell us about?

90 thoughts on “Random Acts of Kindness”

  1. Anne, what a lovely post. A perfect demonstration of how RAKs can change lives. I’m a big fan of random acts of kindness. On one of our trips to Scotland we were crossing the Erskine Bridge outside Glasgow where you have to pay a toll to cross. When we reached the tollbooth the guy behind the counter said that the car in front had paid for us. He assumed we were travelling together but we’d never seen them before in our lives. I was really taken aback by this at first but felt touched and it made me smile the whole day. So the next time we crossed the bridge we did the same for the car behind us and who knows, maybe they paid it forward too.

    Reply
  2. Anne, what a lovely post. A perfect demonstration of how RAKs can change lives. I’m a big fan of random acts of kindness. On one of our trips to Scotland we were crossing the Erskine Bridge outside Glasgow where you have to pay a toll to cross. When we reached the tollbooth the guy behind the counter said that the car in front had paid for us. He assumed we were travelling together but we’d never seen them before in our lives. I was really taken aback by this at first but felt touched and it made me smile the whole day. So the next time we crossed the bridge we did the same for the car behind us and who knows, maybe they paid it forward too.

    Reply
  3. Anne, what a lovely post. A perfect demonstration of how RAKs can change lives. I’m a big fan of random acts of kindness. On one of our trips to Scotland we were crossing the Erskine Bridge outside Glasgow where you have to pay a toll to cross. When we reached the tollbooth the guy behind the counter said that the car in front had paid for us. He assumed we were travelling together but we’d never seen them before in our lives. I was really taken aback by this at first but felt touched and it made me smile the whole day. So the next time we crossed the bridge we did the same for the car behind us and who knows, maybe they paid it forward too.

    Reply
  4. Anne, what a lovely post. A perfect demonstration of how RAKs can change lives. I’m a big fan of random acts of kindness. On one of our trips to Scotland we were crossing the Erskine Bridge outside Glasgow where you have to pay a toll to cross. When we reached the tollbooth the guy behind the counter said that the car in front had paid for us. He assumed we were travelling together but we’d never seen them before in our lives. I was really taken aback by this at first but felt touched and it made me smile the whole day. So the next time we crossed the bridge we did the same for the car behind us and who knows, maybe they paid it forward too.

    Reply
  5. Anne, what a lovely post. A perfect demonstration of how RAKs can change lives. I’m a big fan of random acts of kindness. On one of our trips to Scotland we were crossing the Erskine Bridge outside Glasgow where you have to pay a toll to cross. When we reached the tollbooth the guy behind the counter said that the car in front had paid for us. He assumed we were travelling together but we’d never seen them before in our lives. I was really taken aback by this at first but felt touched and it made me smile the whole day. So the next time we crossed the bridge we did the same for the car behind us and who knows, maybe they paid it forward too.

    Reply
  6. Anne, this post brought tears to my eyes and my computer glasses fogged. It’s such a wonderful example of–the power of great teachers. The inherent potential in so many kids who’ve been dealt a really hard hand. Of the saving grace of kindness.
    It’s also an example of one of the core values of romance writing–kindness, hope, healing, and change. (I actually wrote about a boy like the kind you’re talking about in my most recent book, Never Less Than a Lady. Because that’s part of what romance is about.)

    Reply
  7. Anne, this post brought tears to my eyes and my computer glasses fogged. It’s such a wonderful example of–the power of great teachers. The inherent potential in so many kids who’ve been dealt a really hard hand. Of the saving grace of kindness.
    It’s also an example of one of the core values of romance writing–kindness, hope, healing, and change. (I actually wrote about a boy like the kind you’re talking about in my most recent book, Never Less Than a Lady. Because that’s part of what romance is about.)

    Reply
  8. Anne, this post brought tears to my eyes and my computer glasses fogged. It’s such a wonderful example of–the power of great teachers. The inherent potential in so many kids who’ve been dealt a really hard hand. Of the saving grace of kindness.
    It’s also an example of one of the core values of romance writing–kindness, hope, healing, and change. (I actually wrote about a boy like the kind you’re talking about in my most recent book, Never Less Than a Lady. Because that’s part of what romance is about.)

    Reply
  9. Anne, this post brought tears to my eyes and my computer glasses fogged. It’s such a wonderful example of–the power of great teachers. The inherent potential in so many kids who’ve been dealt a really hard hand. Of the saving grace of kindness.
    It’s also an example of one of the core values of romance writing–kindness, hope, healing, and change. (I actually wrote about a boy like the kind you’re talking about in my most recent book, Never Less Than a Lady. Because that’s part of what romance is about.)

    Reply
  10. Anne, this post brought tears to my eyes and my computer glasses fogged. It’s such a wonderful example of–the power of great teachers. The inherent potential in so many kids who’ve been dealt a really hard hand. Of the saving grace of kindness.
    It’s also an example of one of the core values of romance writing–kindness, hope, healing, and change. (I actually wrote about a boy like the kind you’re talking about in my most recent book, Never Less Than a Lady. Because that’s part of what romance is about.)

    Reply
  11. I’ve not been the recipient of a RAK (at least, not that I was aware of or remember,) but I do that too. If I’m in line and someone is a bit short on change, I’ll hand it to the clerk. I love short little old ladies at the grocery because I’m (still) a bit taller than average (though I’m shrinking every year now O_o) because they’ll be standing on their toes trying to reach something on the top shelf and I love handing it to them and smiling. Little things like that give me hope that someone who received will pass it on someday.
    Not quite the impact your example made, but it’s still rewarding to me.

    Reply
  12. I’ve not been the recipient of a RAK (at least, not that I was aware of or remember,) but I do that too. If I’m in line and someone is a bit short on change, I’ll hand it to the clerk. I love short little old ladies at the grocery because I’m (still) a bit taller than average (though I’m shrinking every year now O_o) because they’ll be standing on their toes trying to reach something on the top shelf and I love handing it to them and smiling. Little things like that give me hope that someone who received will pass it on someday.
    Not quite the impact your example made, but it’s still rewarding to me.

    Reply
  13. I’ve not been the recipient of a RAK (at least, not that I was aware of or remember,) but I do that too. If I’m in line and someone is a bit short on change, I’ll hand it to the clerk. I love short little old ladies at the grocery because I’m (still) a bit taller than average (though I’m shrinking every year now O_o) because they’ll be standing on their toes trying to reach something on the top shelf and I love handing it to them and smiling. Little things like that give me hope that someone who received will pass it on someday.
    Not quite the impact your example made, but it’s still rewarding to me.

    Reply
  14. I’ve not been the recipient of a RAK (at least, not that I was aware of or remember,) but I do that too. If I’m in line and someone is a bit short on change, I’ll hand it to the clerk. I love short little old ladies at the grocery because I’m (still) a bit taller than average (though I’m shrinking every year now O_o) because they’ll be standing on their toes trying to reach something on the top shelf and I love handing it to them and smiling. Little things like that give me hope that someone who received will pass it on someday.
    Not quite the impact your example made, but it’s still rewarding to me.

    Reply
  15. I’ve not been the recipient of a RAK (at least, not that I was aware of or remember,) but I do that too. If I’m in line and someone is a bit short on change, I’ll hand it to the clerk. I love short little old ladies at the grocery because I’m (still) a bit taller than average (though I’m shrinking every year now O_o) because they’ll be standing on their toes trying to reach something on the top shelf and I love handing it to them and smiling. Little things like that give me hope that someone who received will pass it on someday.
    Not quite the impact your example made, but it’s still rewarding to me.

    Reply
  16. Nicola, what a nice story. I can still see the echo of that initial glow of pleasure at the unexpected kindness. Such a relatively small thing to do, and yet the pleasure it brought can still make us smile. It’s great to pay it forward, too, and know that somewhere someone is smiling and feeling happy because of that passed-on random act of kindness.
    It’s very quiet in romancelandia at the moment, isn’t it, with so many people off at the conference. We stay-at-home wenches are all feeling a bit wistful.

    Reply
  17. Nicola, what a nice story. I can still see the echo of that initial glow of pleasure at the unexpected kindness. Such a relatively small thing to do, and yet the pleasure it brought can still make us smile. It’s great to pay it forward, too, and know that somewhere someone is smiling and feeling happy because of that passed-on random act of kindness.
    It’s very quiet in romancelandia at the moment, isn’t it, with so many people off at the conference. We stay-at-home wenches are all feeling a bit wistful.

    Reply
  18. Nicola, what a nice story. I can still see the echo of that initial glow of pleasure at the unexpected kindness. Such a relatively small thing to do, and yet the pleasure it brought can still make us smile. It’s great to pay it forward, too, and know that somewhere someone is smiling and feeling happy because of that passed-on random act of kindness.
    It’s very quiet in romancelandia at the moment, isn’t it, with so many people off at the conference. We stay-at-home wenches are all feeling a bit wistful.

    Reply
  19. Nicola, what a nice story. I can still see the echo of that initial glow of pleasure at the unexpected kindness. Such a relatively small thing to do, and yet the pleasure it brought can still make us smile. It’s great to pay it forward, too, and know that somewhere someone is smiling and feeling happy because of that passed-on random act of kindness.
    It’s very quiet in romancelandia at the moment, isn’t it, with so many people off at the conference. We stay-at-home wenches are all feeling a bit wistful.

    Reply
  20. Nicola, what a nice story. I can still see the echo of that initial glow of pleasure at the unexpected kindness. Such a relatively small thing to do, and yet the pleasure it brought can still make us smile. It’s great to pay it forward, too, and know that somewhere someone is smiling and feeling happy because of that passed-on random act of kindness.
    It’s very quiet in romancelandia at the moment, isn’t it, with so many people off at the conference. We stay-at-home wenches are all feeling a bit wistful.

    Reply
  21. Sherrie, here. Anne, THANK YOU SO MUCH for your post. I am a very firm believer in RAKs, having been the recipient of many, as well as dispensing a few of my own.
    Many years ago I was the recipient of an extraordinary RAK. My fiance had just broken up with me, and I was in deep despair, so grief-stricken that I went to bed early and pulled the blankets over my head. A telemarketer woke me up. She could tell that something was wrong and asked if I was all right. To my horror I burst into tears. What followed was unbelievable. Full of sympathy and compassion, she talked me through my grief for 45 minutes, offering encouragement and support. When I worried that she’d get fired for spending so much time with me, she said it was a moot point, as it was her last day on the job. She was driving from Alabama to California with her children the next day, to start a new life.
    The next morning I received a phone call from the same lady, calling from her home. (She had taken my phone number home with her in order to check on me the next day) Her family was already in the car, yelling at her to hurry up so they could leave on their cross-country journey. I was blown away by such kindness, and will never forget how a total stranger sensed a need and responded during my darkest hour.

    Reply
  22. Sherrie, here. Anne, THANK YOU SO MUCH for your post. I am a very firm believer in RAKs, having been the recipient of many, as well as dispensing a few of my own.
    Many years ago I was the recipient of an extraordinary RAK. My fiance had just broken up with me, and I was in deep despair, so grief-stricken that I went to bed early and pulled the blankets over my head. A telemarketer woke me up. She could tell that something was wrong and asked if I was all right. To my horror I burst into tears. What followed was unbelievable. Full of sympathy and compassion, she talked me through my grief for 45 minutes, offering encouragement and support. When I worried that she’d get fired for spending so much time with me, she said it was a moot point, as it was her last day on the job. She was driving from Alabama to California with her children the next day, to start a new life.
    The next morning I received a phone call from the same lady, calling from her home. (She had taken my phone number home with her in order to check on me the next day) Her family was already in the car, yelling at her to hurry up so they could leave on their cross-country journey. I was blown away by such kindness, and will never forget how a total stranger sensed a need and responded during my darkest hour.

    Reply
  23. Sherrie, here. Anne, THANK YOU SO MUCH for your post. I am a very firm believer in RAKs, having been the recipient of many, as well as dispensing a few of my own.
    Many years ago I was the recipient of an extraordinary RAK. My fiance had just broken up with me, and I was in deep despair, so grief-stricken that I went to bed early and pulled the blankets over my head. A telemarketer woke me up. She could tell that something was wrong and asked if I was all right. To my horror I burst into tears. What followed was unbelievable. Full of sympathy and compassion, she talked me through my grief for 45 minutes, offering encouragement and support. When I worried that she’d get fired for spending so much time with me, she said it was a moot point, as it was her last day on the job. She was driving from Alabama to California with her children the next day, to start a new life.
    The next morning I received a phone call from the same lady, calling from her home. (She had taken my phone number home with her in order to check on me the next day) Her family was already in the car, yelling at her to hurry up so they could leave on their cross-country journey. I was blown away by such kindness, and will never forget how a total stranger sensed a need and responded during my darkest hour.

    Reply
  24. Sherrie, here. Anne, THANK YOU SO MUCH for your post. I am a very firm believer in RAKs, having been the recipient of many, as well as dispensing a few of my own.
    Many years ago I was the recipient of an extraordinary RAK. My fiance had just broken up with me, and I was in deep despair, so grief-stricken that I went to bed early and pulled the blankets over my head. A telemarketer woke me up. She could tell that something was wrong and asked if I was all right. To my horror I burst into tears. What followed was unbelievable. Full of sympathy and compassion, she talked me through my grief for 45 minutes, offering encouragement and support. When I worried that she’d get fired for spending so much time with me, she said it was a moot point, as it was her last day on the job. She was driving from Alabama to California with her children the next day, to start a new life.
    The next morning I received a phone call from the same lady, calling from her home. (She had taken my phone number home with her in order to check on me the next day) Her family was already in the car, yelling at her to hurry up so they could leave on their cross-country journey. I was blown away by such kindness, and will never forget how a total stranger sensed a need and responded during my darkest hour.

    Reply
  25. Sherrie, here. Anne, THANK YOU SO MUCH for your post. I am a very firm believer in RAKs, having been the recipient of many, as well as dispensing a few of my own.
    Many years ago I was the recipient of an extraordinary RAK. My fiance had just broken up with me, and I was in deep despair, so grief-stricken that I went to bed early and pulled the blankets over my head. A telemarketer woke me up. She could tell that something was wrong and asked if I was all right. To my horror I burst into tears. What followed was unbelievable. Full of sympathy and compassion, she talked me through my grief for 45 minutes, offering encouragement and support. When I worried that she’d get fired for spending so much time with me, she said it was a moot point, as it was her last day on the job. She was driving from Alabama to California with her children the next day, to start a new life.
    The next morning I received a phone call from the same lady, calling from her home. (She had taken my phone number home with her in order to check on me the next day) Her family was already in the car, yelling at her to hurry up so they could leave on their cross-country journey. I was blown away by such kindness, and will never forget how a total stranger sensed a need and responded during my darkest hour.

    Reply
  26. Mary Jo, when I read your first “lost lords” book I immediately thought of the kind of kids I taught. I’ve always had a soft spot for the naughty ones.
    I often think teachers don’t get enough credit for what they do. There are always plenty of people happy to leap in and complain about “teachers today” without considering how much society has changed and how the job has become so much more complicated and difficult. In my experience most teachers are dedicated and idealistic and work very hard for the simple reward of seeing their students blossom.
    And I agree – one of the reasons I love the romance genre is that it’s one of the few places in literature where the positive values you mentioned — kindness, hope, healing and change — are actively celebrated.

    Reply
  27. Mary Jo, when I read your first “lost lords” book I immediately thought of the kind of kids I taught. I’ve always had a soft spot for the naughty ones.
    I often think teachers don’t get enough credit for what they do. There are always plenty of people happy to leap in and complain about “teachers today” without considering how much society has changed and how the job has become so much more complicated and difficult. In my experience most teachers are dedicated and idealistic and work very hard for the simple reward of seeing their students blossom.
    And I agree – one of the reasons I love the romance genre is that it’s one of the few places in literature where the positive values you mentioned — kindness, hope, healing and change — are actively celebrated.

    Reply
  28. Mary Jo, when I read your first “lost lords” book I immediately thought of the kind of kids I taught. I’ve always had a soft spot for the naughty ones.
    I often think teachers don’t get enough credit for what they do. There are always plenty of people happy to leap in and complain about “teachers today” without considering how much society has changed and how the job has become so much more complicated and difficult. In my experience most teachers are dedicated and idealistic and work very hard for the simple reward of seeing their students blossom.
    And I agree – one of the reasons I love the romance genre is that it’s one of the few places in literature where the positive values you mentioned — kindness, hope, healing and change — are actively celebrated.

    Reply
  29. Mary Jo, when I read your first “lost lords” book I immediately thought of the kind of kids I taught. I’ve always had a soft spot for the naughty ones.
    I often think teachers don’t get enough credit for what they do. There are always plenty of people happy to leap in and complain about “teachers today” without considering how much society has changed and how the job has become so much more complicated and difficult. In my experience most teachers are dedicated and idealistic and work very hard for the simple reward of seeing their students blossom.
    And I agree – one of the reasons I love the romance genre is that it’s one of the few places in literature where the positive values you mentioned — kindness, hope, healing and change — are actively celebrated.

    Reply
  30. Mary Jo, when I read your first “lost lords” book I immediately thought of the kind of kids I taught. I’ve always had a soft spot for the naughty ones.
    I often think teachers don’t get enough credit for what they do. There are always plenty of people happy to leap in and complain about “teachers today” without considering how much society has changed and how the job has become so much more complicated and difficult. In my experience most teachers are dedicated and idealistic and work very hard for the simple reward of seeing their students blossom.
    And I agree – one of the reasons I love the romance genre is that it’s one of the few places in literature where the positive values you mentioned — kindness, hope, healing and change — are actively celebrated.

    Reply
  31. Theo, you are a true giver of random acts of kindness. I will never forget when you wrote to a newbie author and showed her that there was more to her books than she’d realized. The romance reader version of reaching to a high shelf for short little old ladies— and it still makes me smile.
    The thing about random acts of kindness is that they remind the recipients that there are good, nice, kind people all around them, that the world is not the hostile, negative, selfish place that’s portrayed in the media. And that in small, random, meaningful ways we can make it better.

    Reply
  32. Theo, you are a true giver of random acts of kindness. I will never forget when you wrote to a newbie author and showed her that there was more to her books than she’d realized. The romance reader version of reaching to a high shelf for short little old ladies— and it still makes me smile.
    The thing about random acts of kindness is that they remind the recipients that there are good, nice, kind people all around them, that the world is not the hostile, negative, selfish place that’s portrayed in the media. And that in small, random, meaningful ways we can make it better.

    Reply
  33. Theo, you are a true giver of random acts of kindness. I will never forget when you wrote to a newbie author and showed her that there was more to her books than she’d realized. The romance reader version of reaching to a high shelf for short little old ladies— and it still makes me smile.
    The thing about random acts of kindness is that they remind the recipients that there are good, nice, kind people all around them, that the world is not the hostile, negative, selfish place that’s portrayed in the media. And that in small, random, meaningful ways we can make it better.

    Reply
  34. Theo, you are a true giver of random acts of kindness. I will never forget when you wrote to a newbie author and showed her that there was more to her books than she’d realized. The romance reader version of reaching to a high shelf for short little old ladies— and it still makes me smile.
    The thing about random acts of kindness is that they remind the recipients that there are good, nice, kind people all around them, that the world is not the hostile, negative, selfish place that’s portrayed in the media. And that in small, random, meaningful ways we can make it better.

    Reply
  35. Theo, you are a true giver of random acts of kindness. I will never forget when you wrote to a newbie author and showed her that there was more to her books than she’d realized. The romance reader version of reaching to a high shelf for short little old ladies— and it still makes me smile.
    The thing about random acts of kindness is that they remind the recipients that there are good, nice, kind people all around them, that the world is not the hostile, negative, selfish place that’s portrayed in the media. And that in small, random, meaningful ways we can make it better.

    Reply
  36. Sherrie, what a wonderful story! And what a lovely woman. It really does remind you that there are good people in the world — and to think she was a telemarketer, who we’re all so primed to be negative about.
    There is something very powerful about an unexpected act of kindness and concern, isn’t there?
    Thanks for sharing that story.

    Reply
  37. Sherrie, what a wonderful story! And what a lovely woman. It really does remind you that there are good people in the world — and to think she was a telemarketer, who we’re all so primed to be negative about.
    There is something very powerful about an unexpected act of kindness and concern, isn’t there?
    Thanks for sharing that story.

    Reply
  38. Sherrie, what a wonderful story! And what a lovely woman. It really does remind you that there are good people in the world — and to think she was a telemarketer, who we’re all so primed to be negative about.
    There is something very powerful about an unexpected act of kindness and concern, isn’t there?
    Thanks for sharing that story.

    Reply
  39. Sherrie, what a wonderful story! And what a lovely woman. It really does remind you that there are good people in the world — and to think she was a telemarketer, who we’re all so primed to be negative about.
    There is something very powerful about an unexpected act of kindness and concern, isn’t there?
    Thanks for sharing that story.

    Reply
  40. Sherrie, what a wonderful story! And what a lovely woman. It really does remind you that there are good people in the world — and to think she was a telemarketer, who we’re all so primed to be negative about.
    There is something very powerful about an unexpected act of kindness and concern, isn’t there?
    Thanks for sharing that story.

    Reply
  41. Sherrie, again. I just remembered another RAK, this time involving an entire listserv of romance writers. One of the members said she’d be incommunicado for an undetermined amount of time because she was fleeing her abusive husban–with nothing but her car and the clothes on her back. Her plan was to drive cross-country to a safe place (possibly her parents), sleeping in her car because she had no money. She was terrified her husband would come after her.
    That’s when the list went into action. They quickly (and secretly, because of her husband) arranged for the lady to stay at list members’ houses along her route. In the end, she made the entire trip safely, and each night was fed and housed by list members along the way. This happened several years ago, but the story is well known, so there’s probably documentation on it somewhere. I believe it may have even been written up in the RWA Romance Writers Report.

    Reply
  42. Sherrie, again. I just remembered another RAK, this time involving an entire listserv of romance writers. One of the members said she’d be incommunicado for an undetermined amount of time because she was fleeing her abusive husban–with nothing but her car and the clothes on her back. Her plan was to drive cross-country to a safe place (possibly her parents), sleeping in her car because she had no money. She was terrified her husband would come after her.
    That’s when the list went into action. They quickly (and secretly, because of her husband) arranged for the lady to stay at list members’ houses along her route. In the end, she made the entire trip safely, and each night was fed and housed by list members along the way. This happened several years ago, but the story is well known, so there’s probably documentation on it somewhere. I believe it may have even been written up in the RWA Romance Writers Report.

    Reply
  43. Sherrie, again. I just remembered another RAK, this time involving an entire listserv of romance writers. One of the members said she’d be incommunicado for an undetermined amount of time because she was fleeing her abusive husban–with nothing but her car and the clothes on her back. Her plan was to drive cross-country to a safe place (possibly her parents), sleeping in her car because she had no money. She was terrified her husband would come after her.
    That’s when the list went into action. They quickly (and secretly, because of her husband) arranged for the lady to stay at list members’ houses along her route. In the end, she made the entire trip safely, and each night was fed and housed by list members along the way. This happened several years ago, but the story is well known, so there’s probably documentation on it somewhere. I believe it may have even been written up in the RWA Romance Writers Report.

    Reply
  44. Sherrie, again. I just remembered another RAK, this time involving an entire listserv of romance writers. One of the members said she’d be incommunicado for an undetermined amount of time because she was fleeing her abusive husban–with nothing but her car and the clothes on her back. Her plan was to drive cross-country to a safe place (possibly her parents), sleeping in her car because she had no money. She was terrified her husband would come after her.
    That’s when the list went into action. They quickly (and secretly, because of her husband) arranged for the lady to stay at list members’ houses along her route. In the end, she made the entire trip safely, and each night was fed and housed by list members along the way. This happened several years ago, but the story is well known, so there’s probably documentation on it somewhere. I believe it may have even been written up in the RWA Romance Writers Report.

    Reply
  45. Sherrie, again. I just remembered another RAK, this time involving an entire listserv of romance writers. One of the members said she’d be incommunicado for an undetermined amount of time because she was fleeing her abusive husban–with nothing but her car and the clothes on her back. Her plan was to drive cross-country to a safe place (possibly her parents), sleeping in her car because she had no money. She was terrified her husband would come after her.
    That’s when the list went into action. They quickly (and secretly, because of her husband) arranged for the lady to stay at list members’ houses along her route. In the end, she made the entire trip safely, and each night was fed and housed by list members along the way. This happened several years ago, but the story is well known, so there’s probably documentation on it somewhere. I believe it may have even been written up in the RWA Romance Writers Report.

    Reply
  46. I teach third grade at a charter school and we often use `caught doing good` awards for our kids. Very similar idea to the RAK points written about. It`s so interesting when a child`s name is called over the intercom with a brief explanation of what they did, you can see the light come on and that child is almost guaranteed to have a fabulous day. We don`t treat them any different, but they behave better and seem to have more confidence and self-esteem. It`s amazing how a little recognition can change a child`s day and beyond. Thanks so much for reminding me of the benefits of teaching I need to go back to work after having a baby in April and needed a reminder!

    Reply
  47. I teach third grade at a charter school and we often use `caught doing good` awards for our kids. Very similar idea to the RAK points written about. It`s so interesting when a child`s name is called over the intercom with a brief explanation of what they did, you can see the light come on and that child is almost guaranteed to have a fabulous day. We don`t treat them any different, but they behave better and seem to have more confidence and self-esteem. It`s amazing how a little recognition can change a child`s day and beyond. Thanks so much for reminding me of the benefits of teaching I need to go back to work after having a baby in April and needed a reminder!

    Reply
  48. I teach third grade at a charter school and we often use `caught doing good` awards for our kids. Very similar idea to the RAK points written about. It`s so interesting when a child`s name is called over the intercom with a brief explanation of what they did, you can see the light come on and that child is almost guaranteed to have a fabulous day. We don`t treat them any different, but they behave better and seem to have more confidence and self-esteem. It`s amazing how a little recognition can change a child`s day and beyond. Thanks so much for reminding me of the benefits of teaching I need to go back to work after having a baby in April and needed a reminder!

    Reply
  49. I teach third grade at a charter school and we often use `caught doing good` awards for our kids. Very similar idea to the RAK points written about. It`s so interesting when a child`s name is called over the intercom with a brief explanation of what they did, you can see the light come on and that child is almost guaranteed to have a fabulous day. We don`t treat them any different, but they behave better and seem to have more confidence and self-esteem. It`s amazing how a little recognition can change a child`s day and beyond. Thanks so much for reminding me of the benefits of teaching I need to go back to work after having a baby in April and needed a reminder!

    Reply
  50. I teach third grade at a charter school and we often use `caught doing good` awards for our kids. Very similar idea to the RAK points written about. It`s so interesting when a child`s name is called over the intercom with a brief explanation of what they did, you can see the light come on and that child is almost guaranteed to have a fabulous day. We don`t treat them any different, but they behave better and seem to have more confidence and self-esteem. It`s amazing how a little recognition can change a child`s day and beyond. Thanks so much for reminding me of the benefits of teaching I need to go back to work after having a baby in April and needed a reminder!

    Reply
  51. What a wonderful and inspiring, post. It brought tears to my eyes.
    I’m a great believer in RAKs, I think they nudge the universe in the way it ought to be going.
    My personal RAK was when my dear Aunt Dolly took me in when I couldn’t stand living at home any longer. I was a troubled 17-year-old and I’m sure I was a nuisance to her, though, naturally, that never occurred to me at the time!
    In 2008, my Australian niece Bella, age 18, descended on me out of the blue – I hadn’t seen her since she was ten – and stayed for six months.
    During that time, I had a lot of postumous conversations with Aunt Dolly! I thanked her for what she’d done for me and told her that I was trying to pass it on to Bella.
    When Bella finally went home, she said that if there was ever anything she could do for me etc. etc. I told her to pass it on – some future niece might need help in the way she had done.
    I like the idea of Aunt Dolly’s RAK going down the generations.

    Reply
  52. What a wonderful and inspiring, post. It brought tears to my eyes.
    I’m a great believer in RAKs, I think they nudge the universe in the way it ought to be going.
    My personal RAK was when my dear Aunt Dolly took me in when I couldn’t stand living at home any longer. I was a troubled 17-year-old and I’m sure I was a nuisance to her, though, naturally, that never occurred to me at the time!
    In 2008, my Australian niece Bella, age 18, descended on me out of the blue – I hadn’t seen her since she was ten – and stayed for six months.
    During that time, I had a lot of postumous conversations with Aunt Dolly! I thanked her for what she’d done for me and told her that I was trying to pass it on to Bella.
    When Bella finally went home, she said that if there was ever anything she could do for me etc. etc. I told her to pass it on – some future niece might need help in the way she had done.
    I like the idea of Aunt Dolly’s RAK going down the generations.

    Reply
  53. What a wonderful and inspiring, post. It brought tears to my eyes.
    I’m a great believer in RAKs, I think they nudge the universe in the way it ought to be going.
    My personal RAK was when my dear Aunt Dolly took me in when I couldn’t stand living at home any longer. I was a troubled 17-year-old and I’m sure I was a nuisance to her, though, naturally, that never occurred to me at the time!
    In 2008, my Australian niece Bella, age 18, descended on me out of the blue – I hadn’t seen her since she was ten – and stayed for six months.
    During that time, I had a lot of postumous conversations with Aunt Dolly! I thanked her for what she’d done for me and told her that I was trying to pass it on to Bella.
    When Bella finally went home, she said that if there was ever anything she could do for me etc. etc. I told her to pass it on – some future niece might need help in the way she had done.
    I like the idea of Aunt Dolly’s RAK going down the generations.

    Reply
  54. What a wonderful and inspiring, post. It brought tears to my eyes.
    I’m a great believer in RAKs, I think they nudge the universe in the way it ought to be going.
    My personal RAK was when my dear Aunt Dolly took me in when I couldn’t stand living at home any longer. I was a troubled 17-year-old and I’m sure I was a nuisance to her, though, naturally, that never occurred to me at the time!
    In 2008, my Australian niece Bella, age 18, descended on me out of the blue – I hadn’t seen her since she was ten – and stayed for six months.
    During that time, I had a lot of postumous conversations with Aunt Dolly! I thanked her for what she’d done for me and told her that I was trying to pass it on to Bella.
    When Bella finally went home, she said that if there was ever anything she could do for me etc. etc. I told her to pass it on – some future niece might need help in the way she had done.
    I like the idea of Aunt Dolly’s RAK going down the generations.

    Reply
  55. What a wonderful and inspiring, post. It brought tears to my eyes.
    I’m a great believer in RAKs, I think they nudge the universe in the way it ought to be going.
    My personal RAK was when my dear Aunt Dolly took me in when I couldn’t stand living at home any longer. I was a troubled 17-year-old and I’m sure I was a nuisance to her, though, naturally, that never occurred to me at the time!
    In 2008, my Australian niece Bella, age 18, descended on me out of the blue – I hadn’t seen her since she was ten – and stayed for six months.
    During that time, I had a lot of postumous conversations with Aunt Dolly! I thanked her for what she’d done for me and told her that I was trying to pass it on to Bella.
    When Bella finally went home, she said that if there was ever anything she could do for me etc. etc. I told her to pass it on – some future niece might need help in the way she had done.
    I like the idea of Aunt Dolly’s RAK going down the generations.

    Reply
  56. That’s a lovely story, Elizabeth, and I do hope Bella passes it on.
    These aren’t all “random” acts, though. Many are based on existing relationships–like the upset teacher and the student that Anne wrote about or Elizabeth’s niece. What matters is that the giver goes far beyond what might be expected.
    Then there are the random acts, like Theo getting things off a higher shelf for short people. (Theo, I could use you sometimes!)
    Random acts of kindness, and not so random acts. It’s the kindness that counts.

    Reply
  57. That’s a lovely story, Elizabeth, and I do hope Bella passes it on.
    These aren’t all “random” acts, though. Many are based on existing relationships–like the upset teacher and the student that Anne wrote about or Elizabeth’s niece. What matters is that the giver goes far beyond what might be expected.
    Then there are the random acts, like Theo getting things off a higher shelf for short people. (Theo, I could use you sometimes!)
    Random acts of kindness, and not so random acts. It’s the kindness that counts.

    Reply
  58. That’s a lovely story, Elizabeth, and I do hope Bella passes it on.
    These aren’t all “random” acts, though. Many are based on existing relationships–like the upset teacher and the student that Anne wrote about or Elizabeth’s niece. What matters is that the giver goes far beyond what might be expected.
    Then there are the random acts, like Theo getting things off a higher shelf for short people. (Theo, I could use you sometimes!)
    Random acts of kindness, and not so random acts. It’s the kindness that counts.

    Reply
  59. That’s a lovely story, Elizabeth, and I do hope Bella passes it on.
    These aren’t all “random” acts, though. Many are based on existing relationships–like the upset teacher and the student that Anne wrote about or Elizabeth’s niece. What matters is that the giver goes far beyond what might be expected.
    Then there are the random acts, like Theo getting things off a higher shelf for short people. (Theo, I could use you sometimes!)
    Random acts of kindness, and not so random acts. It’s the kindness that counts.

    Reply
  60. That’s a lovely story, Elizabeth, and I do hope Bella passes it on.
    These aren’t all “random” acts, though. Many are based on existing relationships–like the upset teacher and the student that Anne wrote about or Elizabeth’s niece. What matters is that the giver goes far beyond what might be expected.
    Then there are the random acts, like Theo getting things off a higher shelf for short people. (Theo, I could use you sometimes!)
    Random acts of kindness, and not so random acts. It’s the kindness that counts.

    Reply
  61. Sherrie, that’s a wonderful story. I hadn’t heard it before, but though it moves and impresses me, it doesn’t surprise me. It’s one of the things that I hadn’t expected when I became a romance writer – the wonderful supportive community of other romance writers. I think it’s something extraordinary and particular to the romance-writing community –writers of genres other than romance often comment on it as something they don;t often see. There is probably kindness everywhere, but in romance, it’s concentrated.

    Reply
  62. Sherrie, that’s a wonderful story. I hadn’t heard it before, but though it moves and impresses me, it doesn’t surprise me. It’s one of the things that I hadn’t expected when I became a romance writer – the wonderful supportive community of other romance writers. I think it’s something extraordinary and particular to the romance-writing community –writers of genres other than romance often comment on it as something they don;t often see. There is probably kindness everywhere, but in romance, it’s concentrated.

    Reply
  63. Sherrie, that’s a wonderful story. I hadn’t heard it before, but though it moves and impresses me, it doesn’t surprise me. It’s one of the things that I hadn’t expected when I became a romance writer – the wonderful supportive community of other romance writers. I think it’s something extraordinary and particular to the romance-writing community –writers of genres other than romance often comment on it as something they don;t often see. There is probably kindness everywhere, but in romance, it’s concentrated.

    Reply
  64. Sherrie, that’s a wonderful story. I hadn’t heard it before, but though it moves and impresses me, it doesn’t surprise me. It’s one of the things that I hadn’t expected when I became a romance writer – the wonderful supportive community of other romance writers. I think it’s something extraordinary and particular to the romance-writing community –writers of genres other than romance often comment on it as something they don;t often see. There is probably kindness everywhere, but in romance, it’s concentrated.

    Reply
  65. Sherrie, that’s a wonderful story. I hadn’t heard it before, but though it moves and impresses me, it doesn’t surprise me. It’s one of the things that I hadn’t expected when I became a romance writer – the wonderful supportive community of other romance writers. I think it’s something extraordinary and particular to the romance-writing community –writers of genres other than romance often comment on it as something they don;t often see. There is probably kindness everywhere, but in romance, it’s concentrated.

    Reply
  66. Jana, it’s a wonderful thing to be teaching kids, and they do change as a result, don’t they? Everyone likes to be appreciated and so many people forget how easy it is to make someone feel good.
    Elizabeth, you’re clearly a fabulous aunt. I had a godmother who knew me in a way the rest of my family didn’t, and that’s special. I think teens need someone to help them learn who they are, and feel good about themselves. And passing it on is a great legacy.
    Mary Ko, you’re right, as usual — it’s all about kindness.

    Reply
  67. Jana, it’s a wonderful thing to be teaching kids, and they do change as a result, don’t they? Everyone likes to be appreciated and so many people forget how easy it is to make someone feel good.
    Elizabeth, you’re clearly a fabulous aunt. I had a godmother who knew me in a way the rest of my family didn’t, and that’s special. I think teens need someone to help them learn who they are, and feel good about themselves. And passing it on is a great legacy.
    Mary Ko, you’re right, as usual — it’s all about kindness.

    Reply
  68. Jana, it’s a wonderful thing to be teaching kids, and they do change as a result, don’t they? Everyone likes to be appreciated and so many people forget how easy it is to make someone feel good.
    Elizabeth, you’re clearly a fabulous aunt. I had a godmother who knew me in a way the rest of my family didn’t, and that’s special. I think teens need someone to help them learn who they are, and feel good about themselves. And passing it on is a great legacy.
    Mary Ko, you’re right, as usual — it’s all about kindness.

    Reply
  69. Jana, it’s a wonderful thing to be teaching kids, and they do change as a result, don’t they? Everyone likes to be appreciated and so many people forget how easy it is to make someone feel good.
    Elizabeth, you’re clearly a fabulous aunt. I had a godmother who knew me in a way the rest of my family didn’t, and that’s special. I think teens need someone to help them learn who they are, and feel good about themselves. And passing it on is a great legacy.
    Mary Ko, you’re right, as usual — it’s all about kindness.

    Reply
  70. Jana, it’s a wonderful thing to be teaching kids, and they do change as a result, don’t they? Everyone likes to be appreciated and so many people forget how easy it is to make someone feel good.
    Elizabeth, you’re clearly a fabulous aunt. I had a godmother who knew me in a way the rest of my family didn’t, and that’s special. I think teens need someone to help them learn who they are, and feel good about themselves. And passing it on is a great legacy.
    Mary Ko, you’re right, as usual — it’s all about kindness.

    Reply
  71. Anne, you made me cry. Thank you, and I mean that sincerely. :o) It’s just when the lightbulb went off for me, I needed to tell you.
    And you didn’t need to answer, so it goes both ways.
    :hugs:

    Reply
  72. Anne, you made me cry. Thank you, and I mean that sincerely. :o) It’s just when the lightbulb went off for me, I needed to tell you.
    And you didn’t need to answer, so it goes both ways.
    :hugs:

    Reply
  73. Anne, you made me cry. Thank you, and I mean that sincerely. :o) It’s just when the lightbulb went off for me, I needed to tell you.
    And you didn’t need to answer, so it goes both ways.
    :hugs:

    Reply
  74. Anne, you made me cry. Thank you, and I mean that sincerely. :o) It’s just when the lightbulb went off for me, I needed to tell you.
    And you didn’t need to answer, so it goes both ways.
    :hugs:

    Reply
  75. Anne, you made me cry. Thank you, and I mean that sincerely. :o) It’s just when the lightbulb went off for me, I needed to tell you.
    And you didn’t need to answer, so it goes both ways.
    :hugs:

    Reply
  76. No graduations lately. It is no wonder these kids fail and act up. They have no one who cares enough to give them encouragement or even notice them. Often the acting up is a plea for attention. Since good behavior doesn’t gain them anything, they try the opposite path. It is such a shame they are so alone. The good things really need to be shared.

    Reply
  77. No graduations lately. It is no wonder these kids fail and act up. They have no one who cares enough to give them encouragement or even notice them. Often the acting up is a plea for attention. Since good behavior doesn’t gain them anything, they try the opposite path. It is such a shame they are so alone. The good things really need to be shared.

    Reply
  78. No graduations lately. It is no wonder these kids fail and act up. They have no one who cares enough to give them encouragement or even notice them. Often the acting up is a plea for attention. Since good behavior doesn’t gain them anything, they try the opposite path. It is such a shame they are so alone. The good things really need to be shared.

    Reply
  79. No graduations lately. It is no wonder these kids fail and act up. They have no one who cares enough to give them encouragement or even notice them. Often the acting up is a plea for attention. Since good behavior doesn’t gain them anything, they try the opposite path. It is such a shame they are so alone. The good things really need to be shared.

    Reply
  80. No graduations lately. It is no wonder these kids fail and act up. They have no one who cares enough to give them encouragement or even notice them. Often the acting up is a plea for attention. Since good behavior doesn’t gain them anything, they try the opposite path. It is such a shame they are so alone. The good things really need to be shared.

    Reply
  81. My husband is a postal clerk. I was finding receipts for charges at the post office and knew we weren’t using that many stamps. On day he mentioned a woman had come in to mail a package of papers trying to get her retired husband’s military records straightened out. He knew things were tight for them and paid the postage for her. He mentioned that once a month he paid postage for a family mailing a package to a service member in the war zone and thanks them for their service. It is hard on young families (we were their once) and a little unexpected help makes a big difference.

    Reply
  82. My husband is a postal clerk. I was finding receipts for charges at the post office and knew we weren’t using that many stamps. On day he mentioned a woman had come in to mail a package of papers trying to get her retired husband’s military records straightened out. He knew things were tight for them and paid the postage for her. He mentioned that once a month he paid postage for a family mailing a package to a service member in the war zone and thanks them for their service. It is hard on young families (we were their once) and a little unexpected help makes a big difference.

    Reply
  83. My husband is a postal clerk. I was finding receipts for charges at the post office and knew we weren’t using that many stamps. On day he mentioned a woman had come in to mail a package of papers trying to get her retired husband’s military records straightened out. He knew things were tight for them and paid the postage for her. He mentioned that once a month he paid postage for a family mailing a package to a service member in the war zone and thanks them for their service. It is hard on young families (we were their once) and a little unexpected help makes a big difference.

    Reply
  84. My husband is a postal clerk. I was finding receipts for charges at the post office and knew we weren’t using that many stamps. On day he mentioned a woman had come in to mail a package of papers trying to get her retired husband’s military records straightened out. He knew things were tight for them and paid the postage for her. He mentioned that once a month he paid postage for a family mailing a package to a service member in the war zone and thanks them for their service. It is hard on young families (we were their once) and a little unexpected help makes a big difference.

    Reply
  85. My husband is a postal clerk. I was finding receipts for charges at the post office and knew we weren’t using that many stamps. On day he mentioned a woman had come in to mail a package of papers trying to get her retired husband’s military records straightened out. He knew things were tight for them and paid the postage for her. He mentioned that once a month he paid postage for a family mailing a package to a service member in the war zone and thanks them for their service. It is hard on young families (we were their once) and a little unexpected help makes a big difference.

    Reply
  86. Anne, not sure if you’ll see this comment since the blog’s old. But you brought tears to my eyes. What an amazing story of what the school achieves through positive reinforcement. Thank you for writing about it.

    Reply
  87. Anne, not sure if you’ll see this comment since the blog’s old. But you brought tears to my eyes. What an amazing story of what the school achieves through positive reinforcement. Thank you for writing about it.

    Reply
  88. Anne, not sure if you’ll see this comment since the blog’s old. But you brought tears to my eyes. What an amazing story of what the school achieves through positive reinforcement. Thank you for writing about it.

    Reply
  89. Anne, not sure if you’ll see this comment since the blog’s old. But you brought tears to my eyes. What an amazing story of what the school achieves through positive reinforcement. Thank you for writing about it.

    Reply
  90. Anne, not sure if you’ll see this comment since the blog’s old. But you brought tears to my eyes. What an amazing story of what the school achieves through positive reinforcement. Thank you for writing about it.

    Reply

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