Tag Archives: Kindness

The Acts of Kindness Challenge

On TikTok, people often post challenges. A couple years ago, one of my former students reached out to me for a consultation because he was getting an unusual number of young clients reporting psychotic symptoms. Turns out there was a TikTok challenge to see if kids could trick their counselor or psychotherapist into thinking they were psychotic. This sort of “challenge” just turns me speechless.

But, no worries. I’m never speechless for long.

Today I’m issuing my own non-TikTok challenge. Along with wishing you all Happy Random Acts of Kindness Day, I’m challenging you to adopt an attitude of kindness.

Random Acts of Kindness Day has been celebrated since 1995. Although I love randomness and kindness, as some of you already know, I believe our efforts toward kindness should be more than just random. We should put value into being a kind person, have a kindness intention, and then be waiting and watching for kindness opportunities around every corner.

Just in case you want a copy of my “Intentional Acts of Kindness Homework Assignment,” here it is:

Good luck with the Intentional Acts of Kindness challenge. If you do something kind and feel an impulse to share it, please share it as a comment on this blog, or through your preferred social media platform.

And now, I present you with a kindness opportunity.

Hana Meshesha, one of our University of Montana doctoral students in counseling, is conducting a qualitative research study. I’m posting her call for participants below. If you or someone you know meets the criteria to participate in her study, please contact Hana. Her contact information is also below.

Hello! 

My name is Hana Meshesha and I am a doctoral candidate in the Counselor Education and Supervision program at the University of Montana. I am conducting a qualitative research study on the experience and process of surviving from sexual trauma for individuals identifying as part of a minority/underrepresented group. My goal is to develop a framework to better support survivors of sexual trauma. This research is approved by the University of Montana Institutional Review Board #213-22.  

If you experienced sexual trauma and identify as a part of a minority/underrepresented group based on your sexual orientation, gender, race, and/or ability status, I would appreciate your participation in this study. You are eligible for this study if you meet all of the following criteria:  

  • Identify as a survivor of adulthood sexual violence and the sexual trauma is no longer intruding on your daily functioning
  • Have disclosed your experience to another person prior to participating in this study 
  • Are 20 years of age or older 
  • Identify as part of a minority/underrepresented group based on your gender, sexual orientation, disability status and/or race 
  • Have not experienced childhood sexual abuse/trauma.

Participating in this study involves two 60-minute interviews focused on your process of surviving and healing from the experience of sexual trauma. If you are interested and willing, you will also be asked to share a poem, picture, song, or any artwork that represents your journey of surviving from sexual trauma. To participate or ask any questions related to this study, please contact me at hana.meshesha@umconnect.umt.edu or 406-303-1794. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.  

Hana Meshesha 

This Week’s Happiness Homework . . . Acts of Kindness . . . from the University of Montana

This is the assignment for my happiness students at the University of Montana. Check it out.

About a decade or two ago, the concept, “Random acts of kindness” gained traction. Now, about a decade or two later, I’m a little sad that random acts of kindness has become the most common way we talk about kindness. I say this despite the fact that I’m a big fan of randomness.

For your assignment this week, I’d like all of us to break away from the randomness mentality and embrace intentionality.

Intentional acts give us—as actors in the grand theater of life—greater agency. Instead of being stuck with a script someone else wrote, when we embrace intentionality, we become the author of every scene. Rather than randomly responding to opportunities with kindness, we can exert our will. What this means is that when an opportunity for kindness pops up, we already have a plan . . . and that plan involves creatively finding a way to respond with kindness. How cool is that?

Let’s think about this together.

Toward whom would you like to demonstrate kindness? A stranger? If so, it might feel random in that you might act kind in a moment of spontaneity. But your spontaneity—although wonderful—is a moment when your intentionality (to be a person who acts with kindness) meets opportunity. In this way, even acts toward strangers that seem or feel spontaneous, will be acts that reflect your deeper values and character.

Maybe you’d like to intentionally be kind to a friend, a parent, or a sibling. Again, this requires thought and planning and the ability to step outside yourself. Assuming that others want what you want can backfire. You’ll need to step into another person’s world: What would your friend, parent, or sibling appreciate?

To stay with the theater metaphor, you’re the script-writer and you’ve written yourself into this performance. For this week, the script or plan includes a character who values kindness and who watches for opportunities to share that value with others. You’re that character.

Your job is to translate your kind character into kind action. I don’t what that will look like for you. Maybe you don’t either. That’s the magic—where opportunity meets planned spontaneity.

Your other job is to write a summary of this experience (100 to 300 words) to Dan and me and to post it in the correct Moodle destination.

Have a fabulous week!

John SF

This is a photo of the James River in Richmond, Virginia this past Sunday evening.

James River Richmond