What is a radical act of kindness? It should be something that stretches you out of your comfort zone. You should go significantly out of your way to make the other person’s day. It should require a little bit of personal sacrifice. Today, we found out just how difficult it is to brighten someone’s day.
Why is modern society so averted to kindness? We were tasked with performing four separate acts of radical kindness as our challenge today. Half of them were individual acts and the other half required that we be in a group. We had to incorporate a mix of acts in which we remained anonymous and ones in which we were recognized.
For the individual acts, the majority of our group found quickly that most people don’t like being asked for help. Maybe being perceived as in need of assistance aggravates the ego. Maybe the spirit of self-reliance is strong in Paonia. Either way, we ran into some walls. Personally, I found that the individual works were trying, and pushed me out of my comfort zone much more. The challenge of approaching strangers going about their business to help them with said business, only to get turned down was pretty disheartening.
When we reconvened afterwards, we were ready to move on from the mixed emotions of the individual challenges and move onto the group works. We had brainstormed the night before, so we came into the fresh situation with a strong idea of what we wanted. We started out by pulling out instruments and playing music on the sidewalk, using the money we gained from donations to buy an ice cream cone for someone. After that was complete, we were in high spirits, but stumped on how to go about the next act of kindness. After trying a few different methods, like cleaning up the park and going house to house offering help, we weren’t feeling very fulfilled. Our acts of kindness weren’t radical enough. After much frustration, we finally found someone to accept our job. We tore down a tree and did some yard work for Seraya’s grandmother.
The final interaction that we had was fantastic and completely made up for the frustrations throughout the day. Many people have expressed their struggles in completing this challenge successfully and we experienced that first hand today, but we all took away a heightened sense of community and helpfulness around others.