To celebrate and publicize Random Acts of Kindness Week, I'm republishing my series from 2008, with some editing to fit 2010. For those of you participating in the Winter 2010 GeneaBlogger Games, there are some ideas here that you can use for Task 6. Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness.
"Nobody likes an ingrate!" is something I've found myself saying all too frequently over the years to my children--and, I must admit, to myself as well.
One of the kindest things you can do for someone else is to be grateful for when they've been kind to you.
A little bit goes a long way. If you have a blog or a website, post a message praising the kindness given. If someone has sent you information via e-mail, even if it's something you already have, send them a thankful response. If a library staff member has looked up, photocopied, and mailed you an obituary free of charge, take the time to send a thank-you note by mail. Perhaps include a donation to their library foundation. If a funeral home employee has gone out of their way to find a death record in an ancestor's file buried deep in the storage room of the basement, send a letter praising their worth to the board of directors.
Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness has a Kudos page where you can post your thanks for the lookup you received. If you use another lookup service, write the webmaster and tell them how wonderful their volunteers are!
Have an attitude of gratitude. Have it before you ask. Be respectful of others' time and resources when you make a request. AND DON'T FORGET TO THANK THEM!
Be generous. Determine to do one kind thing a month or week. Record it...and record the wonderful consequences!
Buy that baby book or family bible on E-bay or in a second-hand shop and attempt to return it to its family. Donate twice as much as the society suggests when they locate a record for you. Volunteer a little longer than for the length of time you signed up. Ask to help again the next time.
I had fun this week, thinking of--and performing--random acts of kindness. Did you? Let's keep it going! If you're a blogger, then consider writing a post once a month sharing how you received a kindness, and how you passed it on. What do you think?