Making a difference to create change

Random Acts of Kindness
Unless you have been living in a cave on a desert island in the middle of the Pacific your whole life, you have heard of ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ (RAK). They are everywhere on the Internet. There are websites dedicated to them, YouTube videos showing them, and news items reporting them. Even Hollywood makes films about them: Pay It Forward, Hugo, and The Pursuit of Happiness being three that come to mind off the top of my head.
Famous Random Acts of Kindness
I’m a huge fan of random acts of kindness. I love reading about them, watching them and, in my own small way, doing them. I think everyone has their favorite, but here are some of mine.
• The firemen who gave oxygen to a kitten after finding it in a house-fire.
• The people who give free electricity during natural disasters.
• A drycleaner offering free cleaning for job interviews.
• A well-known fast food chain offering free sandwiches to the homeless.
• A policeman buying boots for a bare-footed homeless man.
I love reading about them because, like most people, when I read them they restore my faith in humanity. The only problem is, someone is always peeling onions close by. Oh, and my daughter shouts at me to stop blubbing like a baby!
Why Do People Do RAKs?
This is actually quite a difficult question to ask. First of all, here are a few reasons I thought of.
• Religion:
Lots of religious people do random acts of kindness every day.
• Feels Good:
Anyone who has ever been kind (er…everyone?) knows how good it feels.
• Popularity:
People who are kind are more popular than people who aren’t.
• Setting an example:
If you have kids, you’ll know how important it is to show them how RAKs affect others in a positive way.
But why is it a difficult question to ask? Well, why doesn’t everyone do them? Everyone accepts that they make people feel good and yet, random acts of kindness are so newsworthy, not because they are so common, but because they are so rare. Perhaps a better question would be, “Why don’t people do them?”
What RAKs Can We Do Every Day?
So, what can we do every day to improve the lives of those around us? Again, there are lots of examples around but I thought I would concentrate on a few ideas that, in these times of economic uncertainty, won’t cost you any money.
1. Help someone elderly cross the road.
2. Pick up litter.
3. Hand in lost property.
4. Better yet, try and find the person who lost it.
5. Carry someone’s bags.
6. Hold a door open for the next person coming through.
7. If you’re on public transport, stand up for someone.
8. Return something that someone has dropped
9. Help someone who is lost.
10. Smile at everyone you meet.
When I lived in London, nothing made me feel better than helping lost Americans. I think it was the chaos of London’s streets that so confused them, as major American cities were designed using the grid system.
Why do I do it?
Many years ago, before the expression became famous, an Irish friend of mine did something kind. He then told me he did it because he want to ‘break the cycle of indifference’. This has stuck with me to this day. For me, random acts of kindness are not just about being kind; they are about showing the world that I care, and that I can make a difference.
What random acts of kindness have you done? What other famous examples can you think of? Why do you do random acts of kindness? Leave a comment below, and share it with the world.


The following is an URGENT ALERT! I ask that you read the following and share this along with using the information provided to educate your family as well in the case of this happening.
As a whole we know there is trash talk during online gaming. This is not intended to rain on that parade. This is not about whether or not someone allows their child to online game. THIS IS ABOUT ADULTS BEING SEXUALLY EXPLICIT AND THREATENING YOUNG CHILDREN ONLINE AND HAVING LITTLE TO NO RECOURSE BECAUSE IT IS ONLINE.
Please support our efforts to bring awareness about this issue to the public eye. Please share this with as many people as possible so people will begin to understand that common sense rule of society apply even during gaming. Thank you for your support. Please pray for this man’s child as well as he is growing up in this environment of hate. If he is willing to do this in front of his child on a recorded game what happens in private can only be imagined.
Many people have their own opinions on what online games should be allowed to be played by children. I see this is NOT THE REAL ISSUE. The real issue is conduct with other online gamers. Yesterday a 9 year old boy was playing in a party with his usual group of friends. A normal disagreement broke out between a few members of the party. Normally this would be fine and a good learning experience in handling conflict. IT WAS NOT. One of the children’s parents decided to take the conflict to a new level. He joined in the conversation on XBOX Live. BE ADVISED ALL CHAT IS RECORDED BY XBOX! The adult, who works as a COMMUNITY SERVANT and in a CORRECTIONS POSITION, began threatening to come and kill the boy and his family but, didn’t leave the conversation there. He stated with EXPLICIT details what he would do before killing the family. He was so graphic in his use of his body parts, where and what he would do with them and how after he was done with the family, what he would do while RAPING the boy that, the child was in great fear. (The boy and his child are friends on Face Book which further lead this child to believe this man could follow through with his threats.)
The mother hearing all of this, immediately attempted to ask the man to leave the party or refrain from his manner of speaking, pointing out how inappropriate he was being. This led him to continue to be explicit and more threatening. The husband then commented which in turn caused the individual to leave the party after a threat was made to contact law enforcement.
The boy was not the only child on at the time. After a discussion with all involved in the party, the following actions were taken.
1. Reported the situation to XBOX.
2. Called the local police department where this man lives to make a report as he stated he would sexually assault the child. It is across several state lines and although they attempted to reach him at his home he refused to answer the door. Given the distance from the two homes and multiple state lines, it was suggested to contact his employer and allow them knowledge as to his actions. A court case would require parents to travel a very long distance however; the police did offer to issue a warrant if the parents wanted to make several trips to court hearings.
3. Contact was made with XBOX for a written transcript at the police department’s suggestion in case there are any further issues. XBOX has stated they will only release these records to law enforcement. They did provide a case number and stated the tape will be reviewed by their special unit designed to eliminate online predators. They however, cannot give updates or case results.
4. Parents have continued discussions about online safety.
This is not an isolated incident. This is becoming an ever growing concern as more and more online opportunities present as social options. The question is how do we as parents obtain more rights when it comes to protecting our children? Why should we have to deny our children social media connections and gaming options because adults can not conduct themselves accordingly?
The opportunity for children to create, build and socialize on games such as Minecraft has opened many children with social or speech disorders a new world of opportunity. Research has proven the removal of face to face interaction has allowed children otherwise struggling with peer interactions to blossom online as they can control who with and when to interact.
Should companies such as Microsoft and social media sites have more information available to parents? Are there safer options for our children? Now, in my opinion, the rooms within our homes have become unsafe from threats and predators. How do we keep children safe in this growing world of technology?
In closing, I would like to thank the many adults who very appropriately conduct themselves while gaming online or on social media with younger children. Many offer wonderful insight and skill tips to these children as well as encouragement and proper social examples.
What are your feelings on keeping children safe online? Should parents be expected to withhold these options to their children or, is it time the laws begin to catch- up with ever-growing technology and its issues? After all, what is really available except banning a gamer tag or disabling an account?

The Cycle of Bullying!

Bullying is more than an action. It is an attitude. Although many people attempt to stop bulling through threats of repercussion, dress codes and lawful penalties, we fail and the epidemic continues to grow. Why? Maybe it is because we miss the root of the problem. Bullying is formed from learning. In order to change the actions and perceptions around this problem we must first change ourselves and then teach the answer: respect.
Often we refer to our childhoods to understand the path our life has taken. What were we told as children about ourselves and what did we hear from others? These are the opinions that have shaped us. Good or bad, as young growing sponges, we absorbed what was given to us externally. Sources such as music, TV and other visual and auditory suggestions began a picture in our mind. Naturally, being young we need to “fit in” with those around us, especially our families; we “conform” to messages without thought and make them our truth.
As we grow into a place where we become involved with a wider array of people, those thoughts begin to emerge. Even as young as preschool, we can see the patterns of bulling and profiling have begun to take hold. We begin to form opinions such as: —— is naughty, he is always in the corner. —— is a baby, they suck their thumb. We, as the receiving child, may begin to say: —- is calling me names or hitting me. Most common responses are,” Then stay away from them” or “Don’t worry about what they say”. This does not solve the emerging questions and messages, it only leaves more. We also are beginning to notice parents talking in groups. This further gives way to our thoughts that will continue to develop our opinions and interactions.
None of the above says we will be a bully because of what we heard or saw when we were young or that we will be a victim of bullying. It ONLY expresses how thoughts and patterns are formed. As we emerge into more vocal years these patterns continue. Like a disease these patterns have become so strong in our society that we have tried to counter act them through harsh penalties and many social campaigns. So with all the effort to find a “cure” why does it persist?
Having everyone dress alike punished or “labeled” does not, do anything, to solve the thought patterns we have already learned. In fact, it only seems that these actions cause further frustrations and consequences for both bullies and victims.
What’s the answer? Education about acceptance, judgments and what makes a person valuable morally would be the stepping stone. We cannot create robots to look alike in an attempt to change internal judgments. We cannot expect a child who has been brought up to hear hate not exhibit that trait without understanding how to make their own decision. We cannot expect a parent who feels that being mean or being treated cruelly by others is just part of growing to encourage change. After all, “Don’t you think you should grow a thicker skin?”
We can go on and on about the above issues and how this epidemic has been spread. We can dissect it into little parts. At the end of the day, the answer will still be the same. Until we teach kindness, acceptance, respect and that it is our opinion that matters, not others. we will continue to spread this disease.
Lives have been lost over this. Adults need to take the first steps with our very young. Children and teenagers need to begin to take a stand. Education needs to be provided in teaching how to make internal decisions about things not just what is socially expected. We need to begin a campaign to LOVE MORE-JUDGE LESS. Today make a commitment to not form an opinion unless YOU have directly experienced something with someone. Take a stand to say YOU will decide how you feel about yourself based on the truth of who you know you are, NOT who you have been told you are.
If you have been living your life as a bully, internally or externally today you can begin to make a change. Accepting your belief is ours alone to own is a step. Accepting you want others to be around you because they care, rather than to be in your life just to fit in is another positive step.
If you have been a victim of bullying, accepting that you are allowing another to tell you how to be and not who you truly are is a beginning. Having the courage to not feel the need to fit in, rather to have experiences based on belonging and being loved by yourself and others for who you are is a new direction.
Don’t give power to words others throw at us. Find your own words for yourself and the words of others will become meaningless.

Risk:Discover the driving force behind motivation and technology

What drives us to share something with others? Many of us share openly about great events, pictures and life’s up’s and downs. Have you noticed most people say a lot about the up’s and very little about the downs? What causes us to fear sharing what is really happening? Is it the possible comments/judgment’s we don’t want to receive? Maybe the vulnerability it shows? Think of all the great positive things you read and share. Now, think of how alone and overwhelming things are on your mind because you keep them inside. It is said, “If we don’t have rain we cannot enjoy a rainbow”.

The Attitude Army is about coming together, bringing unity and support. Take a step, take a leap, allow yourself to explode in growth.  There is need for support and vulnerability. Both in good and bad times we need others. Reach out- if allowing another to know your struggle takes you from loneliness. Reach out- if you can share your strength, hope and experience with another.

We don’t ever need to judge, we just need to share. Only we can choose to create our supports. Don’t feel because you put something out there for others to see and no one responded that you are alone or unheard. Your struggle may have helped someone today have courage to make a change or feel a connection. Share your truths and experience both good and bad, don’t hide who you are today.

The above helps us to be reminded that no one is perfect in their life. It also reminds us that shutting ourselves off from others is a choice we make. Living our life in a bubble, afraid of others reactions, gives food and strength to our obstacles and fears. There is no shame in having issues in our life. No one persons issue is less or worse, bigger or smaller. If it is an issue and causes conflict then it deserves a voice.  With no voice given we remain trapped in the circumstance. Secrets are the internal walls we build that destroy feelings of freedom.

With the current technology available to us today we can privately look up almost any question or topic and find some type of comment or article on it. This in and of itself shows us another is traveling or has traveled a similar path. Yet, we cling to the privacy of our own situation as though our walls can collapse. Why do we choose to feel others in our lives will judge us? Honestly because some have. It is a choice to take a risk and many of us have all been taught a risk is either heads or tails. What if we changed that reaction and began to envision a risk as a poll of opinions. What if we, as the ones with opinions, stopped and just listened. Could this be the beginning of change? Good or bad share it openly and with pride. These moments are what have made and defined you. What brings one joy can cause another sorrow. What troubles some is a defining moment towards positive change for others. We are all individuals and respond in different ways.  Today allow yourself to make rainbows from rain and to take a risk with a twist!

Tragedy: Visual profiling is absent in the face of tragedy while rampant in daily life

Why does it take tragedy for people to come together? Although it is a great thing when people rally out of need, when looking closer it is also a very telling issue. Do we avoid people in our lives when we know times are tough for them? Do we only put aside our time and judgment when we feel the situation has now become drastic enough to pitch in and help? Are we, at that moment, doing this for the person in need or for our own self recognition? These are tough questions that speak to our inner wiring.
In tough times we may suddenly identify and greet the neighbor we never spoke to. The family others gossiped about may now be a friend because; you are at a “even” level. Hello’s to strangers we may have never offered are now freely given.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could respond like this in unity all the time?

Tragedy does not identify by social class or standing.   However, we do. The call for help and action is often a desire, yet acted on slowly as we are busy with other things, and it remains on our list for a later date. It’s OK. This is a turning point.

We know the above is an important reflection into human nature. It is not only based on social structure boundaries we choose to impose on ourselves, but also on internal protection mechanisms. It is natural to want to guard yourself from hurt and rejection. It is natural to be afraid that you could be opening yourself to something that could be misinterpreted and cause you a threat. In a world of want it is a challenge to not look for another’s motive in kindness rather than graciously accept the kindness. Do you often feel things come at a price or with conditions from most others? These are tough questions we all must reflect on. This reflection that helps us road map our inner thoughts are key to starting new adventures and living a peaceful and gratifying life.

Aside from internal protection we have one other obstacle that causes conflict in the above. We have been wired to look for external acceptance. Our actions in showing open empathy for another is often closely judged and monitored by those close to us. How can we justify our actions to erase stigma when we know others may not understand? It is easy to obtain support when you participate in a charity fundraiser. We all have causes that trigger a common bond. When we step outside that protective shield of the group action, it then becomes a judgment of action. Have you ever said hello to a stranger only to have someone ask you if you know that person? For some reason we naturally respond with a no but inside squirm wondering why we did that and what the person with us is thinking.

The quest I encourage and discuss is simple. If we all began to engage in a random act of kindness, such as a simple smile or hello would,your world end? Or, could our world begin to change from fear based reactions to a gentler way of treating one another? Taking a step out of our protective box and engaging someone today could change an attitude or a life.

What do you think? Does opening a door for someone or looking them in the eye to smile and say hello make a difference for you or them? Or, do we just not have the time or energy until it is something tragic that will not only bring recognition but a feeling that it was needed and not wasted as a simple action you may not benefit from? Does visual profiling keep you from taking this step? Looking someone in the eye and smiling does not show weakness. It shows a strong person who is not afraid to remind others that kindness still exists.

Greet others today with an open smile. Do not allow feelings of being afraid to be looked at differently enter in. A smile and greeting can make both the giver and receiver think and feel differently. Show your attitude by being able to speak to everyone with a simple hello regardless of class or feelings of superiority or judgment. A hello costs nothing. The reward is giving in a simple way. Can you do it? How many smiles and hello’s can you deliver today?

Canvas: The mystery of creating a beautiful canvas of life

Life is all about attitude and how we approach it. When we are born we have an empty canvas. We are young, helpless and unknowing. Those around us begin to paint our canvas and define our thoughts and perceptions. As we grow we join the painting of our picture of life. We are not strong artists yet we begin to add in our own colors and strokes from choices and experiences. During this early process of creation we are still struggling to understand if our contributions are beautiful, necessary, original or guided.


As we continue to grow, we begin to see we have freedom to grab a new canvas. We experiment and begin to look to outsiders for their direction and input into our work of art. At times we choose the incorrect direction and at other times feel our choices while darkening a portion of the work creating room for different colors to be brought in to it. Regardless of reactions from others we continue to create because we must do so to grow.


Somewhere, however. we forget we are artists, capable of changing to a new canvas when we need to. We forget the beauty of colors and freedom of creating our picture. We lose sight that we have unlimited canvases at our disposal if we choose to start a new vision. We become stuck, stagnant and faded.


If we can remind ourselves that life and the circumstances we create are ours to paint we can move from those places of guilt, victim or unhappiness and begin a new picture. We can take control of our thoughts and actions and create a work we are proud to hang up for the world to see. There are no rules in this masterpiece. This will not be the only one left to create. It will however be one of many that show connection and self acceptance.


What is the first step in creating this? Remembering to take what we need and we believe to be true and leaving the rest behind. In order to move in personal growth we must at some point and time take responsibility to choose what we see from our own heart and what we believe based on our feelings not others. Then we can create.

Look back over in reflection your many canvases in life. What strokes did you freely include and which were imposed or suggested to you as the only option to make that sequence complete? While we will see a variety of input we will also see that the necessary guidance influenced us greatly both in positive and negative ways. Are you at a place where you want to take over creating your own independent images now?


The second step is having the courage to acknowledge what it is that is lacking from your creativeness. Is it the fear your lines may not be straight or are too straight? That your vision may change half way through or that your choice to explore a new style of work may cause another to react? These are all valid creative blockers. The challenge to understand we control our own thoughts, actions and words now come to life. If we are truly with others that respect us then they will understand and support our new picture without retaliation and support of choice in style. Maybe allowing someone you feel will encourage you to find your image, can help support that first stroke or encourage you to keep working.


The third, but not last part is to explore and create based on your truth and desired freedom. Neither I nor anyone else can tell or show you what your canvas should look like. You however can slowly develop that vision. It is as personal as you may ever get with yourself. The canvas you feel may even never be able to be shared with another. Know this in comfort. Whether you share your canvas or not others will see the transformation taking place. You will inspire them to ask what you are doing differently and how suddenly you are moving into and in the place you are. This is a good thing. True reflection and positive growth does not always have to be shared by the spoken word. It is a feeling we give off naturally to others.  Confidence draws those around us closer and invites new interests to our company.


Do you think it’s time to start a new canvas? What confidence or fear keeps you from beginning your creation of a new work of art? There is no judgment or level of skill required to accomplish this. The only requirement is to want improvement in your life. It is hard to change from a shame and blame mentality to one of responsibility for self. I notice my colors get brighter, bolder and less straight with each new picture leaving space to add in later if needed. What changes do you think you will see in your next piece of work? Are you inspired to begin painting?