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.