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.

Friday, 19 February 2010

We continue...

Well, it seems as though raok365 is going well, and I know I am having a blast doing it! Vixie, Phil and I are all posting our raoks pretty regularly over on Twitter - a selection of recent raoks from us include....

* Hiding money on a café table for your waitress to find.

* Leaving a surprise gift for baby twin girls.

* Writing a letter to praise excellent service.

*Lots of charity donations.

* Sending flowers.

* Picking up a beer bottle rolling around the top deck of the 41 bus, and putting in a bin when I got off.

* Inspiring someone else to raok!

* Stocking the break room fridge.

* Being a kitchen fairy and making a friend's kitchen look awesome.

As well as lots of general niceness and helpfulness!

To keep up with our raoking, we tweet using the hashtag #raok365. :-)

Have a fantastic day!


Saturday, 16 January 2010

Happy Reading!

I don't know what inspired me to do this, but I wrote a message (in pencil) on page 180 of my library book for the next reader:

"You are the light at the end of the tunnel" (and I underlined the word, you).

Happy Weekend!

And the RAoKing continues. I'm being pretty good at doing something every day, although sometimes it can be a bit last minute (hello, 14 hour work day the other day!), and I'm still really enjoying it. I'm also looking forward to getting together with Vixie soon to compare notes and maybe plan some things together...

RAoK #6: sent an email to a company I admire, just thanking them for what they do.

RAoK #7: left some yummy biscuits in the school secretaries' pigeonhole, so they could have something yummy with their afternoon tea.

RAoK #8: helped a lady get her buggy up the stairs at the underground stop.

RAoK #9: sent a book and a note to a beautiful lady.

RAoK #10: RAoKed a RAoKer, with a book. Oh, and sent a sweet baby girl a book.

RAoK #11: put a copy of 'Join Me' in a colleague's pigeonhole.

RAoK #12: bought the next round for two guys in a bar (bless them, they were so sweet and surprised!).

RAoK #13: What else but Haiti? Made a donation to the World Food Project.

RAoK #14: there's a collector at one of my local tube stops, who everyone tends to zoom past. I stopped to chat with him and gave him some money (this also led to me losing Aksinia and Emer on the train, but that's another story!).

RAoK #15: in the pub we go to each Friday after work, there's a business card bowl, where you can pick up the pub's details. Now there's also a hudden five-pound-note. I always think five pounds is the ideal amount to find - enough to buy something...not so big that you'd necessarily hand it in!

RAoK on, lovelies!


Saturday, 9 January 2010


Lovely to see you looking so well!

Unfortunately, I have not been my ol' tip-top self of late, but that hasn't stopped me from RAoKing! Here's what I have done so far:

RAoK #1 - posting chocolate coins and Happy New Year messages to all my neighbours.
RAoK #2 - bought a random person a gift from their Amazon Wishlist.
RAoK #3 - including an extra special extra gift when sending out a parcel.
RAoK #4 - hugging everyone who works in my building (perhaps that's why I'm all ill...)
RAoK #5 - sending a letter of praise and some sweeties to the AA man who helped my silly friend when he got locked out of his car.
RAoK #6 - going into work on snow day when everyone else was out playing in the snow!
RAoK #7 - signing up to an online mentoring service.
RAoK #8 - donating to a JustGiving page.
RAoK #9 - sending an unexpected present to someone.

I hope not to take so long in updating next time :)

Happy RAoKing!

Vixie xx

Friday, 8 January 2010

Annnnd...here I am! Sorry about the late update! I've been busy with the holidays--traveling and working!

Anyway, I've been keeping track of the RAoKs in a little diary that I had laying around...so let me see if I can update you all on what I've done. The first week of the year I was in Alabama visiting my family. They live in the country and we usually stay around their houses and don't really go out. So, some of my RAoKs were for my family members who I don't see all that often.

January 1: okay...to be honest I didn't do anything that day. I was with my family and they live in the middle of nowhere. Literally. We didn't even leave the house all day. Now, I did explain my RAoK goals to my family and they got all excited about it. A few of them have started doing RAoKs as well!! Anyway, I have to make up one for this day.
January 2: I sent a nice letter in the mail to a random person I picked from the phone book.
January 3: Although not a random person, I spent 2 hours with my lonely grandmother. She has dementia and needs the company. It's hard to be around her for that long because we end up having the same conversations over and over...but I needed to do that.
January 4: While in the bookstore, I helped a woman whose son had just knocked over a whole shelf of books. Others were just standing around watching...
January 5: This is another family one...I was supposed to leave Alabama and go home this day, but my 10 year old cousin really wanted me to stay and watch her basketball game. So, I surprised her by staying the extra night, going to her game, and taking her out for pizza afterward.
January 6: Although this isn't huge, I was a really nice motorist. I spent the whole day driving back to Louisiana. So, I let people pass me easily, I didn't get mad and cuss when others were annoying drivers, I let people into lanes, and I let others go ahead of me at the gas pump.
January 7: It was a really cold day yesterday...and also really rainy. So, I wrote the postman a nice thank-you card and put some hand warmers in the letter for him.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Getting underway

Hi there! Wow, I like what you've done with your hair today!

So by now we're up to day five of our little endeavour - how's everyone doing? The best way to keep up with us (or join us :-)) is to check for the #raok365 hashtag on twitter and facebook - I've really been enjoying reading what Phil and Vixie have been up to! Ily and Emily are no doubt RAoKing up a storm on their side of the ocean and I am so looking forward to hearing about their triumphs!

As for me?

Well, RAoK #1 was a thank you card to someone on my road who always keeps their garden beautiful. Our particular area of London is a bit hit and miss upkeep-wise, so to walk past a well-kept, pretty garden every day is ace. RAoK # 2 was a £5 donation on JustGiving to someone random. RAoK # 3 saw me make a care package and mail it to someone who won't be expecting it! RAoK # 4 was one of my favourites...Leaving the £1 you need for the gym locker in my gym locker once I'd finished with it.

Today was day 5...I donated to a JustGiving, sent someone a nice comment on their fundraising project, and wrote a note to a Postpal. I seem to be doing OK ideaswise...so far. Ask me again in a few weeks! As ever, if you have an idea for a RAoK, please leave a comment, or email us at raok365@googlemail.com.

Soon I'll be doing some RAoKspiration posts - one on ideas my class came up with, and some linking to places like Postpals where you can do RAoKs, or sites that give lists of ideas. I hope they'll be helpful!

Right, life and work are calling, so I must close for now.

Happy RAoKing!


PS I must thank my wonderful Matthew, not just for mailing many many things for me (his work is closer to a post office than mine! This may be a busy year, baby...), but also for giving me the cute little diary in which I'm recording my RAoKs. The man's a gem!

Friday, 1 January 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everybody!

And so the challenge begins....