Intentional acts of kindness: Adding purpose to your actions

Mason Chooses Kindness

There are so many ways to be kind, such as writing a thank you note to a friend who helped you out, paying for someone’s coffee or fast-food order behind you in line, or simply sending a “thinking of you” card.

As part of Intentional Acts of Kindness, Patriots can participate in National Random Acts of Kindness Day on Thursday, Feb. 17.  To celebrate acts of kindness, the Mason Chooses Kindness (MCK) committee has arranged exciting events for the Mason community including a workshop session examining how Disney characters embody emotional intelligence and how this connects to leadership.

Another event Patriots can take part in is a social media challenge. Everyone will be encouraged to use the hashtag #MasonChoosesKindness to share how they plan to spread kindness intentionally on that day. All the tweets containing the hashtag will be liked and shared on MCK social media platforms: Twitter @Mason_Kindness, Instagram @Mason_Kindness, and Facebook @MasonKindness.

Cynthia Bentley, administrative coordinator at University Libraries, knows firsthand the unexpected good feeling that a small act of kindness can generate, when someone at the Dunkin Donuts at Mason unexpectedly paid for her order. “The act of kindness not only encouraged me, but it inspired me to be kind to someone else,” Bentley said. “What a wonderful day it was.”

A new way to recognize acts of kindness at Mason is Pats for Pats, i.e., Pats on the back for Patriots that lets staff, faculty, students or alumni thank someone for being “kind, generous or thoughtful toward others,” according to the website. The initiative went into action this semester and focuses on recognizing both random yet small-scale acts of kindness with the goal of encouraging all to continue participating in kind actions.  

“Individuals who were nominated through this form will receive an anonymous MCK-branded e-card on Random Acts of Kindness Day with a blurb including the nominator’s message along with what they were ‘caught' being kind for,” said Philip Wilkerson, industry advisor at University Career Services and the lead for awards and recognitions in the MCK executive committee. “After this day, the nominee’s that live or work on campus will be awarded with a physical MCK-branded card and/or sticker and those living off campus will receive an email with a MCK-branded e-card and/or sticker.”

“All of us like being on the receiving end of kindness,” said Nance Lucas, executive director of the Center for Advancement of Well-Being and chief well-being officer at Mason. “Patriots, we challenge you to get caught in these acts of goodness and let's all be the ripple effect of kindness in our communities.”

The Mason community is encouraged to perform intentional acts of kindness every day and the given resources are generously beneficial in helping individuals discover the many ways of being kind.

When a stranger or a friend goes out of their way to do something kind for you, you remember it longer. It has more impact,” said Christophe Riffo, an international credential specialist in the Office of Admissions and Mason Kindness Ambassador.

“Intentionality also validates or affirms what we are able to extend to others no matter how small or simple the gesture might be,” said Al Fuertes, associate professor at the School of Integrative Studies and Mason Kindness Ambassador. “In the process, it gives us a deeper sense of meaning, fulfillment, and self-appreciation.”

There are many resources available online such as the new edition of the Mason Chooses Kindness Toolkit, Thriving Together Series: Intentional Acts of Kindness article, and Famous Quotes on Kindness and Well-Being that provide ideas and tools to help you spread kindness. The MCK committee also released its new Acts of Kindness Calendar, featuring ideas for putting kindness into action every day of the month.

“I recently injured my knee, and I am on crutches,” said social work major and Mason Kindness Ambassador Casey Jalen Nelson. “There have been so many people who have been willing to step in and give me a hand, holding doors open for me and asking me if I need help. The acts of kindness of Mason students in the community warms my heart.”

“You never know when someone is going through a hard time. A little bit of kindness that you give can make all the difference,” said Melissa Bevacqua, director of undergraduate admissions.