Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Keeping Up and Catching Up

So, it's been a while since I've posted. Sorry about the absence....there is no good excuse.

Anyway, things have been going pretty good on the RAoK front. I have tried to document every one I do in a journal, but that hasn't always been easy. I'm using this last 1/3 of the year to catch up with my RAoKs, since there are a few days I've missed.

Recently (for those joinee folks out there), I've rejoined the forum. Because of my busy schedule and obsession with facebook, I lost track of what was happening with the forum. I deactivated facebook and have tried to visit the forum more often. I realized there are several new joinees each month, none of whom I have acknowledged since their arrival. So, as a RAoK, I picked a few and sent them welcome messages. Who doesn't like a message? Hopefully this will be twofold. The new Joinees will feel welcome, and I'll be more attentive to the "New Joinees" thread.

Some other favorites:
-Adding songs to the Itunes gracenote database for a local artist whose CD had not yet been put on Itunes
-Donating things to a womens' shelter
-Being overly nice to the cashier at a store who appeared to be having a bad day. In the end she smiled, and I think she was genuinely happy.

Well, like I said, I've still got several to do to catch up with 365. But, it's been a fun project so far!

How's everyone else getting along??


Monday, 26 July 2010

RAoKing away gently

So here we are, well over halfway through the year.

And the RAoKing is going well, I think. I'm certainly enjoying it a lot more since I stopped documenting every instance and instead spent my energy finding ways to do a RAoK for someone. It's pretty sweet.

Some of my RAoKs have been tiny, some big, some small....but this whole experience has made me more mindful, I think. More aware that my acts can help (or hurt) someone. and oh-so-grateful for the many kindnesses I'm lucky enough to receive in my own life. :-)

How are your RAoKs going, buddies? What could you do today to make someone smile?

Here's to kindness!


Friday, 4 June 2010


....RAoKs just fall into my lap.

The lady who needed change for the loo at Glasgow Central.

The man who was lost in Swiss Cottage.

The girl at Belsize Park who needed me to make a call for her, to let her pick up know she was there.

Simple, and sweet.

What RAoKs have happened upon you recently?


Sunday, 9 May 2010

How to be kind. By my class. (part 1)

We had a great session on 'kindness' a few weeks back. My class are no strangers to raoking, and naturally were most excited to put forward their ideas on what I (or indeed, anyone) could do as a Random Act of Kindness.

I asked them "what kind thing could you do to make someone smile?" Here are their suggestions (there were so many, I've split the bunch in two):

* Give a funny card to someone.

* Let someone drive past when you are trying to get out.

* Plant more seeds.

* Help someone when they are ill.

* Be nice to the flatmates.

* Send someone a letter or card.

* Offer an older person your seat on the Tube.

* Buy someone a drink.

* Bake someone a cake.

* Help someone to do their chores when they are ill.

* Do something for charity.

* Tidy your room before mummy asks.

* Adopt a badger.

* Plant a tree.

* Write a nice letter to your friends.

* Give food to the poor.

* Help someone get off the tube.

* Give a present to someone who's feeling sad.

* Try to help someone feel better when they are ill.

* Give a coffee to all the teachers.

* Help your sister to read.

* Give your unwanted clothes to a homeless shelter or a charity shop.

* Take care of someone who feels tired.

* Help a blind man across the road.

* Send people flowers.

* Call someone who you miss.

* Invite your friends round for dinner.

* Make something for someone.

* Spend your time and read a story to old people.

* Pick up rubbish on the street and put it in the bin.

* Tell someone which way to go if they are lost.

* Help someone by carrying their books.

Pretty groovy, eh? I'm going to try a few of these this week. 8 and 9 year olds are wise.


Wednesday, 5 May 2010

What raok365 has taught me (so far)

Like Phil, the last to post here, I've been working through raok365, but have been finding some sticking points. Do I raok every day? Pretty much. But do I raok "big" enough? What does and doesn't qualify as a raok? Do I count those small moments which can make someone's day a little brighter, someone's load a little lighter, or is there some sort of bar I have to reach?

So a few weeks back, I stopped tweeting every raok (although I do still update fairly regularly, with the hashtag #raok365). And it felt absolutely wonderful. I'm still raoking, and pretty much every day. Sometimes three or four times a day. Occasionally not at all.

Because for me this challenge is now about putting good stuff out there. Helping people. Loving people. Wanting to do something cool for someone else. To answer one of my own questions in the first paragraph, I think all random acts of kindness count. Whether you give someone £20 for charity or a seat on the tube, both are giving, both are good.

So now, instead of switching off the computer thinking "Oh poo, did I raok? Did I tweet it?", I now get into bed at the end of the night and try to remember all the raoks I've done. And when I wake up, I plan new ones on my commute to work. As for this blog, well I'm going to aim to check in every couple of weeks (at least) from now on to share cool ideas, fun raoks, and inspiration.

A kind word is like a Spring day. ~Russian Proverb


Sunday, 11 April 2010

RAoK 101

I'll be honest.  I've been a bit rubbish at doing this every single day.  For a while I felt quite bad about missing a couple of days and then trying to make the missed RAoKs up again.

I wasn't really sure about whether to count some of the RAoKs I was doing.  It didn't seem quite right that every time I struggled for something nice to do, I considered giving up my seat on the train just so that I could tick something off on a list.  As much as I love ticking things off on lists, when that becomes the main motivation for doing something nice, I know I'm not doing it quite right.

And to be fair, I spend a lot of my time on trains.  My commute to and from work is a mind-numbing hour and forty minutes each way.  I get up at five-thirty, and often don't get home before eight.  Then I need to eat dinner and get an early night ready for the next day.  Most of my RAoKing opportunities are related to trains and their seats.

And what about the nice things I sometimes do without a second thought?  If I smile at someone or hold the door open for someone, that really doesn't take much effort and I generally do it anyway.  At what point does a RAoK take enough effort to be considered a RAoK? 

And even if it's something that I have to make quite a lot of effort for, but it's something I would have done without this challenge (such as giving up my time for the Hoja Project *cough*cough* *clickthislink*) because it's important to me, does it count?  Or should I only count things that I wouldn't have thought of doing otherwise?

I'm a secondary school Maths teacher.  More specifically, I'm a secondary school Maths supply teacher.  This means in theory (though I'm on long term supply) I'm only really paid to turn up.  So does making an effort to give quality feedback to the students count, when technically I only really have to do the bare minimum?  But there is no way I would do the bare minimum if I could give more than that, so surely that doesn't count does it?

So I found myself trying to hit this grey area between "this is no effort and I'd do it anyway" and "I'm only doing this RAoK so I can complete the challenge and it's really not very satisfying as a result".  And then about 40 days ago I gave up worrying about it.

I post some (or most?) but not all of the RAoKs I perform on Twitter, and I don't do them every day.  Because it's nice to share some nice things I've done for people, and it's also nice to just feel good about doing something nice and then not tell anyone about it.

I'm not RAoKing every day because I don't want to feel like I'm forcing myself to do something, but I am RAoKing significantly more than last year, and in making more of a conscious effort I think I've become more aware of people around me.

Yesterday in the park we saw a man trying to look into a litter bin so I asked him if he'd lost something.  He said he'd lost his glasses and he thought he might have dropped them in the bin with his rubbish.

We couldn't help him.  But it was nice to ask.

Friday, 26 February 2010

58 days in

I'm horrible about keeping up with the blog. And since I haven't posted in soooo very long, I'm not going to try and list every single RAoK I've done since my last post (back in January, I believe). However, I will take a minute to let you know what my favorite few have been over the past few weeks...

-Remembering the guards at the gate. Every day I have to go onto Fort Polk--an army post. That's were I work. And, typically the guards work regular shifts. So, when time permits, I try to have a short chat with them. This has been really cool because as weeks have progressed, and I see the guard again, I get to ask them about things we've discussed in the past. And I think it means a lot to them.
-Mailing coupons for diapers to a friend with a baby. I know kids can be expensive, so I've started clipping coupons for people I know can use them. I'm not sure if they actually do...but after I have a few saved up, I write them a friendly note and include the coupon for baby stuff.
-Writing an encouraging letter to a facebook friend. Mind you, this is a friend from high school. I think we are only friends on facebook because we went to school together and graduated in the same class. We weren't even close friends back in high school. Anyway, I saw a status update that said she was nervous about starting her new job. I just started my new job, so I knew how she felt. I sent her a message of encouragement and she seemed really pleased.
-We have penny jars at gas station counters. Essentially, it is where people leave their pennies so the next person can use them if they are short a few cents...rather than break a larger coin or dollar. So, anyway, I've been trying to leave my change. Even larger coins like nickles and dimes.

Anyway, that's a few of my favorites. I don't think I've been quite as creative as the others. Maybe I should take some of their ideas and use them over the next few days!!!

Happy RAoKing everyone! And I'll try to update more often from now on!!

Emily xo.