Random Acts of Thanks

The kids and I have jumped aboard the "give thanks" bandwagon, but we're doing things slightly different (because I can never let things just be easy).

Rather than say why we're thankful, we have decided to use this month to show our gratitude by giving back to our community. We'll perform a "random act of thanks" for each of the 30 days of November. I know it sounds a little high-minded, but by "our community," I really mean the people and organizations in our lives that have influenced and enhanced us.

Our giving back will happen in big ways, but also in small ways. And to keep us accountable, I'm (of course) going to share our "random acts of thanks" here each Sunday evening. Some weeks will have more acts than others because we're more cluster people than deliberate once-a-day people.

And so. Random acts of thanks for this week are:

#1. Holding the door for people at the post office.

When the kids and I talked about what it meant to show our gratitude by doing things for others, they couldn't quite grasp the concept of small things. They talked about the things they've done before (work at a soup kitchen, fill shoe boxes to send to third world countries, run a food drive for our local food pantry, etc). We had to have a much longer talk about how we can show our gratitude in little ways.

Bella's absolute favorite suggestion was holding the door for people and she is awesome at it. The only place we went this week where there were other people was the post office. Bella shot out from the pack of people all hurriedly, head down rushing toward the doors. After she hoisted the door open, she flattened herself against it and smiled at each and every person who passed through.

Strangely, many people didn't like her holding the door for them and had to be coaxed to enter the building. That's where Javi stepped in. If a person hesitated he would say, "That's my sister. She's being grateful by helping you. You should just thank her and go inside." (Yes, I have amazing children.)

Sadly I had neither phone nor camera with me to capture this goodness.

#2. Surprise childcare for an overwhelmed friend.

I had a training session on Saturday afternoon and was still really out of sorts; however, I didn't realize it until I said something snippy about the kids (several children were there, mine weren't). Then later in the session I overheard a friend say to someone else how crazy the past week had been with her husband being gone often, her job being generally stressful (she's a school administrator), and her son being a typical two year old.

And so when I got home, I mentioned to the kids that maybe we could go get B. for some play time the next day. They were all over it so we called up my friend and let her know we were whisking away the kiddo so she could have a quiet Sunday to do whatever she wants. I think she was in shock until we actually drove away with him in the back seat.

We spent our day having a picnic, tossing the football, and peeing on things. I told you he's a typical two year old!

B wasn't very happy to be with us at first (separation anxiety to the max),
but Bella got him smiling by dancing for him. Too bad there's no video!

No zoom on the phone, but this is B running to kick the ball like Javi does.

Of course I snapped a photo. Who wouldn't?

#3. Cookies for a random neighbor.

We had some big chocolate chip cookies left over from a fundraiser from my sister on Wednesday. We decided to wrap them up and leave them on our neighbor's doorstep. Bella wrote a little note and then we snuck the tin onto her porch. The kids loved the sneaking part best. :)

#4. Trash pickup in our neighborhood.

Since we were already out, we decided to spend a few minutes picking up trash along our street and the main artery into our neighborhood.

At first Javi was really grumpy about it, but then he got into and didn't want to stop. Bella was happy because she was the "bag holder," but I caught onto her soon enough and made her actually help. Then they competed against each other to see who could pick up the most trash.

Moral of the story: Even gratitude is no match for sibling rivalry.

Pointing out "his" and "hers" trash. Yeah.

She's totally pinching his butt and I told him to smile
through the pain. Poor guy!

#5. Letting the Mountain Man sleep in.

I'm adding this in because we made a conscious effort to be super quiet on Saturday morning. In our home, the dad gets to sleep in on Saturdays and the mom gets to sleep in on Sundays. Unfortunately, we are never quiet enough for MM so he always gets up grumpy (meanwhile, I could sleep through anything).

The MM says that us making an effort to be super quiet means we normally don't bother trying to be quiet. That's not the case. This Saturday, the kids didn't yell at each other and they didn't fight and no one slammed a door or screamed bloody murder. When they started getting loud, I'd remind them we were telling dad thank you by letting him sleep, and it worked.

So it totally counts. I don't care what he says!

***I'll check back in next Sunday to share the upcoming week's random acts of thanks. If you're doing something similar, please share your link in the comments so we can learn from you and get ideas. We're already planning a shoe box, sending special things to Romania and to soldiers in combat zones, and making cards for nursing home residents. We're in need of more small ideas, please!***


  • Justine

    This is awesome. I love that you got your kids involved in this. I'm so using this for my girls! I hope you don't mind ;-)

  • Kelly Miller

    I totally don't mind!

    You'll have to let me know what you do so I can get ideas. I have 20+ more to go!

  • ayala

    This is awesome, Kelly !

  • Cheri

    I think this is so totally awesome Kelly! And the lessons about "giving back" that you are teaching your kids will be with them for a lifetime. Love it.

  • TKW

    I love the peeing picture. You guys are awesome!

  • Liz Mays

    What a wonderful lesson you taught the kids through all of this, and that pee pee shot was hysterical!

  • Bibliomama

    I think I might literally stick a picture of you on my wall and pray to it. With everything else you have going on, you're doing this? That tells me I can be better. Wow. Seriously. Wow.

    (Also, as someone who had no family around and a husband who travelled a lot when my kids were small, I don't think you'll EVER have any idea how huge what you did from that mother is - huge. Monumental.)

  • Anonymous

    Kelly you rock. and so do your kids and your mountain man.

  • BigLittleWolf

    What a wonderful idea. Something for all of us to put into practice.

  • Cathy Reaves

    You are such a good parent and such a good role model. I feel ashamed! No seriously.

  • Anonymous

    This is pure awesome. What an amazing example you are setting for the kids, and for all of us here. This is what our lives should be made of. Thank you for sharing (even that awesome photo).

  • Anonymous

    Cracking up at Javi telling people to "thank her and go on inside."

  • Megan

    All such fabulous activities - I love it! (And I especially love Javi coaxing people through the opened doors!)

  • Unknown

    you are an awesome mom and I fully think that your kids would do this either way, they have such a giving heart and it all stems from you guys!

  • Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri

    These are great. You guys are fabulous.

  • Making It Work Mom

    I love this idea. I am totally going to try to do something like this with my children. Have to give it some thought.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Anonymous

    You are such a good friend to my Grandaughter. I love you for all you do and I have never met you. Thanks for posting the pictures. Love the peeing pic.

  • Cheryl

    I freaking LOVE this! I am totally finding a way to incorporate this in the class I teach before the year ends. Thank you for the inspiration!

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