Today is World Kindness Day! The first person who sprang to mind was Elizabeth Kikkert. Elizabeth is a Tongan-Australian mother of five who serves as a member of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly. Elizabeth was recently appointed the Shadow Minister for Families, Youth and Community Services and Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs. Each year on her birthday, Elizabeth celebrates by giving random acts of kindness, on her most recent birthday, she performed 36 acts of kindness to mark each year of her life.
Today, on World Kindness Day, we’d like to share with you a few words from Elizabeth.
What inspired you to do random acts of kindness on your birthday? I began to reflect on birthdays as a day you were born and how as a baby you would have brought great happiness and joy to your family and friends. I wanted to connect with that feeling as an adult and so I started experimenting on being a gift to others on my birthday by giving away gifts and hopefully bringing happiness to family and friends.
When did you start and what were some of the first few acts of kindness you carried out? I started on my 30th birthday (2010). I wanted to do something different… My family woke up on my birthday with wrapped gifts on the table for each one of them (from me). I gave treats and gifts to friends and finally, I wanted to give to the community some happiness. I decided to stand in a busy intersection with a big smiley face poster showing it to drivers and pedestrians.
Can you tell us about a meaningful moment while performing acts of kindness on your birthday? After returning from the emergency department dropping off colouring books and crayons to children I ran to the main entrance of the hospital. I ran up to the first floor holding a bunch of flowers. I asked a nurse if there were any patients on this floor who have not received any visitors in the last several days? She replied saying patients were receiving regular visitors. I left and ran up to the second floor. I asked the same question to the nurse. She replied saying she wasn’t aware of any patients not receiving visits. I left and ran up to the next floor. I asked the same question and this time the nurse said, yes we do, in fact she hasn’t received any visits in several weeks. The nurse led the way to the patient’s room and I followed. We both stepped into her room and the frail body of an older woman smiled, and tears flowed after I handed her a bunch of flowers and told her I’m here to visit you.
What impact has this tradition had on you? The impact has far exceeded my expectations. The little acts of kindness can reach deeper into people’s life. Knowing this, has motivated me even more to show more kindness to people.
Tell us about the impact this tradition has had on your family and friends? The impact on family has been wonderful. My children wanted to participate with me on my birthday after school. They came along with me and we had a great time performing random acts of kindness to the community. Friends have also wanted to do the same idea on their birthdays by giving to others the best way they could.
What are you five favourite ways to show kindness?
- Giving flowers to the sick at the hospital;
- Massaging a seniors hand with a really nice hand lotion at the nursing home;
- Sending a hand written thank you note to my children’s teachers;
- My birthday is in winter and here in Canberra we get a lot of frost. I like removing frost from my neighbours’ car;
- Leaving chocolates and an uplifting note on people’s car window at the shopping centre car park.
Your favourite quote to stay focused on what matters most? “Forget yourself and go to work”.
You can read more about Elizabeth’s random acts of kindness here.
We also love Emma Watson’s acts of kindness – hiding books on the London subway with handwritten notes!
How do you show acts of kindness?
Written by Melody Dexter, Founder of Omika.