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Monday, April 14, 2014

A Conversation About Helping Others

Today, a conversation about helping others. Not the one that you give money to the cause, understand that we do not want you to stop doing that EVER, as many problems can be solved by money. Some things though, take another kind of help.

Personal, get involved and get dirty help. And sometimes that kind of help comes with another payoff we don't expect: pain. There are people out there and we are sure you are one, since you are reading a kindness blog that have this heart and drive for helping others. Those are the ones that this blog is for. It is for the friend who has given anyone a shoulder to cry on, then taken another step to help even complete strangers. Need food? Here is where you can go. Sick? Here is a clinic that may be able to help.

We don't do this for the glory, we do it for the good. It is our mission. You become invested in that person, many times not even knowing the full story about how they got to where they are. Their success becomes our badge of honor of sorts even if the helpee is the only one who knows what we have done. And then it happens...failure.
The person who had such promise returns to the life, to the unhealthy habits or relationship they fought so hard to escape. And, as when they succeeded, we now wear their failure, what could we have done? After all, things are supposed to go well, people are changed and saved from their circumstances every day. That is the thing to remember though, that people are changed and saved from their circumstances every day. By people who are kind enough to help. Sometimes many times. Should we stop trying? NO. Should we take another's setback personally? NO.

There are times that these trying circumstances might be our test. How serious are we about showing kindness to people who are not the easiest to receive it? Or those that we think are not really trying to help themselves as much as WE would like. In most things in life, there is probably a payoff. The payoff to changing is a new and different life. The payoff to not changing is comfort, because even if it is bad, it is their bad. The payoff to being kind is knowing that no one can take that kindness away from that person, that where ever their personal journey may take them, be it gutters or mountains that you were there, you were kind.

What you do does matter. The times that make all this advice of kindness difficult is when it involves people we love, family, friends. We are not objective in these times because we are invested in the outcome. We expect more of them then we do complete strangers and when they fail we feel it so much deeper. There is no advice, no answer for these times.

 However, maybe these few lines from the poem, “Anyway”, by Mother Teresa may help you in your kindness mission:

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered; Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

International Happiness Day 2014

Happy Happiness Day! 

March 20 is International Day of Happiness, According to, International Day of Happiness is celebrated throughout the world on 20 March. It was established by the United Nations General Assembly on 28 June 2012. Assembly Resolution A/RES/66/281 states in pertinent part:

The General Assembly Conscious that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal. Recognizing also the need for a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes sustainable development, poverty eradication, happiness and the well-being of all peoples, Decides to proclaim 20 March the International Day of Happiness, Invites all Member States, organizations of the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and individuals, to observe the International Day of Happiness in an appropriate manner, including through education and public awareness-raising activities. (1)

What a great way to start, spend and end your March 20th every year! We at SPPRAK like the idea of happiness as much as we do the idea of kindness! Happy people are kind people. Wonder why that is? There are probably many studies that prove this sort of thing, but let’s face it we do not need a study, we all know that when we feel better, when we feel loved, secure and happy we find it easier to be kind to others. On March 20 this year we can all add a little happiness to our lives and those of others. Fix breakfast for your family as usual but instead of the usual fussing and hustling through it, try winging the pop tarts as you whistle a little tune. Ok, maybe not the best suggestion but there are ways to work happy into your normal day. The thing is you will have the power on March 20 or any day really to change the course of someone else's day, the choice of happy or sad, with your family, your coworkers. Make it a good choice, make it a happy choice. Then share your stories with us on our Facebook page! SPPRAK loves to hear these stories and how you are making a positive difference in the lives of others!

Want to learn more about what Wikipedia says about International Day of Happiness? Here is the link:

Friday, March 7, 2014

Teaching Kindness

Recently there was an article written in the Terre Haute Tribune Star (here) regarding kindness. The author, Mike Lunsford, brought up several excellent points about who is responsible for teaching our children to be kind, and who taught us to be kind. While everyone did not grow up with the same examples of kindness being taught in their homes, in their families, is it safe to assume that kindness is certainly taught, learned, caught, in our families? As parents, is this our responsibility? How about grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.

Why is being kind an important quality to learn from those you are closest to? We worry that our children have the latest style of clothing, that they excel at sports, and academically. But what if we worried that they weren't being kind enough? What if we made the Golden Rule the rule to live by?

Not that that would be easy, since it would require that we live that way as the parents and other adults in our children's lives. Road rage, nasty treatment of our spouses and our siblings, wait staff. you get the idea, would be out. The thing is, we all want children not to be bully's we want them to feel secure and safe, so that the violence will stop. Why are our children feeling so desperate that being mean or violent is the only answer they seem to be able to come up with? Being kind to each other may not be the answer, but it couldn't hurt could it?

Get up right now, go look in the mirror, and then go and make the world a kinder place, it does start with you, it starts with me. The lessons we teach by showing kindness are not lessons lost, they are lessons caught by the generation that is watching us constantly and learning more by what they see, what we do, than by anything we say.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Calling all SPPRAK warriors!!

Calling all SPPRAK warriors!!

Today is the day to sign up to take part on February 17th the National Day of Kindness or take your video and send it in to http/

Here is the story of “what's up” from the Tribstar:

Are you an artsy type? Here is your opportunity! 

You can even try to catch someone in the act of performing a kindness, like this video of a policeman stopping to play catch with a boy:

It is a great time to get involved, grab your friends, grab your coworkers. Even if you are not in Terre Haute, IN don't think you can't take part. What does kindness mean to you? Take a chance and take your video! And if you are not so video inclined, how about a story? A story about what kindness means to you, a kindness done for you or by you. This blog may seem like a commercial for the Unleashing Kindness in Terre Haute, but what it really is an invitation, to take kindness to your street to your community and into the lives of all the people you come in contact with! SPPRAK is out on the kindness revolution, and we want you to come along! 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Is kindness getting us anywhere?

Do you ever wonder if all the talk of kindness is really getting us anywhere?

It is easy to feel that way, when we see what is going on in the world today, and when we find ourselves, personally, dealing with problems, what difference does a simple kindness do? Add to that those people who seem to have no problems. The people that come and go through our lives, strangers and friends alike, are all going through something. And while these people may continue to fight their battles in private and not share, shouldn't we all just take a few minutes to show a kindness to another?

Take this video of a policeman stopping to play ball with a boy:

Kindness empowers the receiver, it reinforces the belief that someone cares about them. Time is kindness, being present with the person you are with is kindness, smiles, a greeting, a word of encouragement, all kindnesses. We sometimes get hung up on the “big” kindnesses, like keeping the “buy the next person in line's coffee” at Starbucks kindnesses. These are the stuff stories are made of but what kindness is really about is making someone else's life, day or even moment better.

While we at SPPRAK love the stories of great acts of kindness, it is the little acts that make our mission successful. Don't forget to share your stories of kindness on our Facebook page, or with us at http/ .

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Years Blog--One Week In

Happy New Year and welcome to 2014! We are all excited about the change of the pages on the calendar. We look at the 365 days in front of us, with hope and anticipation. We also reflect on the 365 days that have past. Today we will talk about those.

While there are a few who have taken their goals from the last year, met them and today are looking back at the past year with happy pride, there are just as many (or more) who have ended one year and began the new one in the same place. This is a new year and the possibilities are limitless and yes, it is in your reach to meet or even exceed your goals.

Before we start down that road today it would be a good day to say a kind word or two to yourself. Why? Because the kindness you show toward others needs to be shown to ourselves. It is not an easy task for some. We judge ourselves harshly, which in turn does lead us to judge others harshly. Why is it some of us have no problem being kind to a stranger on the street, but when it comes to the person in the mirror it is a different story? You know those movies where the person who fails smacks themselves in the head saying stupid stupid stupid? Stop it!

This year kindness starts in that mirror! We need you! SPPRAK has big goals this year and it is going to take each person being special to meet those goals! The person in that mirror is going to be the biggest part in making our goal of building a culture of kindness a reality! So dust off those goals, give yourself a hug and let’s get started on 2014, the year of Kindness!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

That Week Between Christmas Day and New Year's Day

This is that week, the one between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Sort of an unofficial holiday in itself. We won't talk about the resolutions just yet, those can wait till the New Year has started, so what to do with this week?

Are you home for the holidays? How about that local food pantry, they could use your help sorting and handing out. Serving meals at the local soup kitchen, or going through all the things you have no need for and giving it away. You can even still get that tax deduction! How about a visit to the local nursing home?

If you are with your family this week and have some extra time to spend on your kindness goals, go and print this poster: (SPPRAK Random Acts of Kindness Checklist poster) and see how many acts of kindnesses you can do between now and the New Year. If you are just you, well, print and see what you can do.

This is not a favorite season for some and there are many reasons. We all know at least one Grinch! But this week in between Christmas and New Year is a week to change some of that. There is really nothing that has to be done, it is a little slower. Grab your Grinch and our list and spread some kindness! Our list and your help might just change the holiday season into one of joy for that person, along with the people who are touched by the acts of kindnesses they are shown.

SPPRAKing knows no season, so today is a good day to join us on our mission to build a culture of kindness!