Sometimes it’s the little things we do that make all the difference. Here are five simple acts of joy you can do today.
The mall near your house might have one of those kiosk with dozens of candy and gumball machines. Take a handful of quarters and put them in the machines without turning the slots. Wait for a kid to come by and notice. There’s nothing like seeing a kid giddy with happiness.
Wave at a Stranger on the Road.
It’s always nice to be noticed. When you see a car coming down the opposite side of a two way street, roll your window down and give them a big wave. Wave like you recognize a long lost friend and are elated to see them. Two things could happen. 1) The person could figure they must know you because you waved so vigorously, so someone they know cared enough to do that. Or 2) They can have a great story to laugh about at dinner about how some nut waved at them on the road today. Either way, you’ll give someone a smile.
Leave a Note to Someone Who’s Taken For Granted.
It can be your child’s teacher, a waitress, a doctor- anyone who does something for you that is “just doing their job.” Something like this:
I know you see many patients a day and your days are long. I want you to know that when I visit your office I never have the feeling you are rushing to get to someone else. You are very patient and understanding and always leave time for me to ask questions. You’ve taken care of my family and I for many years- and although it is “just your job” you do it so well. My family and I want you to know we have always appreciated your help. You’re an outstanding physician, Dr. Smith. Just thought you should know.
Or this one:
My son told me you spent time after school helping him understand his math work. I know teachers are allowed to go home at 2:30, but you stayed with Jimmy for an hour. Jimmy tells me there are 30 kids in his class. That must mean a lot of grading and preparation for you every day, and I’m sure you have a lot to do at home as well. This note is you tell you we notice how much you care about your students, and to tell you how much we appreciate all you do for our son and others. You’re a wonderful teacher, and we are grateful Jimmy has a chance to be in your class.
A note like that won’t just bring someone a bit a joy- it will make their year.
Just Ask Questions
I heard about this one years ago, and when I tried it I had one of the best conversations ever. Here’s how it works. If you meet someone at a party or event and get a chance to talk to them- try to just ask questions. Don’t make a game of it- be serious about listening and wanting to know more. It makes for a deep conversation that the other person will greatly appreciate, even if they don’t know what happened.
When I tried it I was at a party and met a man who does charity work in the Dominican Republic. I asked what kind of work he did, where in the D.R. he worked, and why. Everything he told me led to another question. I made a conscious effort not to talk about myself unless he asked me something, and even then I turned the attention back to him. At the end of the conversation I learned a great deal about this man and his wonderful efforts. What’s more I could tell he felt good about our conversation.
A great way to bring some joy is to put a Post-It note in some out of the way place where someone is sure to find it in good time. You can leave a “I Love You” on the bathroom mirror, for example. Other ideas, a Post-It in your kids lunch bag- “You’re a great kid.” Hide messages in books, the fridge, the car. Be creative and leave one on a ceiling somewhere. You’ll bring a smile to someone’s face, even when you’re not there.
Each of these are simple to do. You’ll make someone smile and when you do it’s hard not to smile yourself.
Do you have other quick Random Acts of Joy? Tell me about them in the comment section below. Can’t wait to read them.