It has been a while since I have heard the phrase ‘random acts of kindnesses. I heard somewhere that the phrase had noble roots. But at some time, it was adapted to suit the fast pace of contemporary times.

I remember sitting on a bus and overhearing a conversation between a father and his very young son about a Mother’s Day card. The child read the card out loud. “Dear Mom, I love you so much, I promise to clean my room, be nice to my sister, and say thank-you.”

The boy stopped reading and in a concerned and puzzled voice, he said to his father, “That’s a lot to do!” The father consoled the boy, “Look you only have to do it for a day.” I was chilled by the words or was it his tone.

Manners improve and the number of acts of random kindness increase during the holiday season and at times of tragedy. But all too soon the number of acts of kindness decrease; we rush to embrace the comfort which comes with “doing business as usual.”

If we could provide consistent resources to our children regardless of color/class/gender/size, perhaps we could see improvements in academic performance, student morale and self-esteem. If we consistently responded to state/federal spending and social issues instead of waiting for campaign and voting season perhaps the Big Dig could have been a DONE DEAL a long time ago.

Perhaps if we could stay focused on social responsibility instead of protecting property values, the incidents of sexual harassment in the workplace, on the streets and in the schools would decrease.

My suggestion to anyone listening and or reading my words: The hell with random acts of kindness! Let me see some consistency!


Janet Cormier is a painter, writes prose and poetry, and performs comedy. JC prefers different and original over pretty. She loves collecting stuff, but cleaning not so much. Janet also talks to strangers… a lot. Her column appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.