How do you give back to the people who have helped saved your child’s life, go out of their way to be kind, and help lift you up when you fall? In honor of National Random Acts of Kindness Day on February 17, here are some random and creative ways we gave back to the people who helped us in the NICU, PICU and at home.
1. Words have power, so make your kindness stand out! Every time a nurse brought in something needed or taught him a new skill, Zoey’s dad would say, “You’re my hero!” It was a different way of saying thanks that made them light up and feel special.
2. Share a laugh. Show someone a funny meme or hashtag. Create a meme and hashtag for your NICU stay and print it out for the staff. Laughing together spreads joy, and helps you get through hard times.
3. Hobby from the Heart. One of my friends taught me how to make jewelry, and her act of kindness made me very productive. I made over 120 pieces of jewelry while watching over my child at night. So I began to give them away to the women who admired them.
4. Be kind in any place you visit. Leave the space you were in a littler nicer than it was – tidy it up, wipe it down. If something is broken, or overflowing, try to get it removed or replaced rather than shaking your head and moving on. It only takes a seconds to make a room feel more inviting.
5. Giving something tangible is an act of kindness we often want to do, even if we are strapped for cash. We’ve made felt fortune cookies with paper fortunes inside that read “We are fortunate to have you” and used significant dates as the lucky numbers. We’ve given ornaments to hang, music, books and photo books for the NICU and PICUs. Wearable gifts such as fleece scarves, slipper socks, and gloves came in handy for our winter nurses. We gifted trays of food for hospital staff to celebrate a milestone. Something visual and verbal like a quote printed on business cards can be a nice pick-me-up to give out randomly. When you have a lot of people to thank, small and thoughtful is best.
Kindness comes in the form of thoughtfulness, words and deeds. It’s as simple as a smile, and as creative as you want it to be. Kindness gives us a sense of perspective, empathy, respect and appreciation for others. It has a ripple effect on healing the self, others and the world.
Above all else, be kind.