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Being kind: The gift you give yourself

Kindness give a flower.resize

It’s a cliché but some friends really do disappear once you’ve become a parent. Whether it is because they have different parenting philosophies or no kids, you find yourself struggling for something to say to an old friend.

If you’re lucky you’ll find a new group of friends, for me this was an online community that has since become “real life friends” for those close enough to us. It was in this community that I was first introduced to the idea of Random Act of Kindness (RAOK). I had heard of the concept before but got to take part and really see it lift a load and make a difference for many.

Inspired by this I wanted to introduce my family to the idea too, so one cold Saturday when the wind was particularly biting in Pretoria we made some cheese sandwiches, warm Milo and added fresh fruits. We loaded our two year old into the car and drove around handing out the meals we had hastily put together before the sun sets and people retreat into their shelters.

Of course cynics might say that we are not sure in what spirit that small blessing was received by those we came across, and honestly, I am okay with not knowing. All I know is that it made us feel fantastic. Our hearts felt light and our smiles were bright. I don’t imagine that my toddler understood much of what was happening but we will try to continue with RAOKs so as to firmly help her grasp the idea and the important feel-good lesson behind it.

In this spirit I want to invite you to think of doing something random and kind for a stranger, or even a close friend this weekend. Why not exchange the bonding game of family Monopoly, or time spent in front of the TV watching the game or latest series, for doing something nice for others with your family.

Rope the children into baking biscuits to drop off at the local old age home or a cake for a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Write a handwritten letter to a relative that stays far away or pay for the person behind you in the drive-through.

The website Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has a couple of great ideas. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself – the feel-good factor is amazing and lasts far longer than the happy vibes of watching your favourite series or sharing a bottle of wine with your boyfriend will.


Mariette Steynberg is a qualified economist with a post-graduate diploma in financial planning. She has enjoyed working on holistic financial plans for clients in various stages of life, as well as a development economist assessing the socioeconomic impacts of new developments. When she is not working, Mariette enjoys parenting her quirky, delightful toddler girl. Cloth diapering, Eskimo kisses and the importance of reading to your child are all causes close to her heart. Mariette is passionate about financial education and hopes to use the experience she has gained to share knowledge with HomeTimes’ readership. Her goal is to provide information that is implementable by everyone.

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