12 Months of Kindness for 2012

Saturday, January 7, 2012

It's the start of the new year which not only brings about resolutions (more on those a little later in the week), but also our time to reflect on the past year and think about how we can improve on being kind to others for the coming year.  We had a great and mostly successful 3rd year of our 12 months of Kindness tradition.  You can read all about our previous years of Kindness here and the idea behind it here

When we get ready to make our goals for the 12 months of Kindness, we make some considerations to ensure that our list is attainable for how and where our family will be during the different months of the year.  So for example, we need to make sure that our goal for February and March are decided while realizing we will have a very tiny new baby in our house.  And the goal for June needs to allow for Brandon's very busy work schedule while he opens a new store.  And in October, we'll be vacationing in the Dominician Republic - so could/should that be included in our month's kindness?  And Greyson will be older this year (thus a little more understanding of what we're doing) so can we include things that are geared toward his development?

After considering all the places we'll be or all the plans we have for the months - we then talk about the previous kindness months that we've enjoyed doing to make sure we slot them into months.  We also give new kindness ideas (some thanks to pinterest, of course) and add those to the list.  And then finally, we arrive at our big finale...which we're now ready to unveil!

We've kept some tried and true Kindness goals from years past (like Donors Choose, our scholarship, etc) and added some new goals (like the "house purge" and supporting local establishments).  We've also added mini-goals that apply to our March and April goals.  As the months come, we'll give more in depth updates and details to our Kindness progress, but so far, those mini goal lists look like this:

Some of our Kindness goals are fairly big undertakings and specific to us (like planning & hosting our Invitational in July and the Turkey Bowl in November), but we have had practice in getting this events organized - and I'm a little bit of a happy-to-pressure-myself-with-big-projects kind of person.  But 12 months of Kindness can be designed to fit your family specifically.

I recognize that not everyone has 20 million different causes in their mind that they want to help...so maybe your family's 12 months of Kindness could focus on one idea for the whole year:  like making your family/home more green a little each month - if you are most interested in the environment; or using the year to introduce your kids to their status as a global citizen and perhaps making a focus each month on different places around the world & their culture, practices, and holidays (um, that one actually sounds awesome...maybe when my babes are big enough to get it...hmm).  If you're concerned about a financial commitment for the year (definitely a concern in this day & age), it's certainly possible to come up with a full year of free acts of kindness (like refusing paper & plastic bags by always bringing your own when shopping, or introducing yourself to your neighbors).  Get your kids involved in the goals too - maybe they really love animals right now, do you know about how you can buy livestock for underprivileged families around the world ? Or think about visiting & donating to your local animal shelter.

No matter how big or small, making a goal to participate in acts of kindness and giving throughout the year is sending the message to your own family (and kids) and others around you that maybe what the world really needs right now - is a little more kindness to one another.

If you and your family decide to do 12 months of Kindness, please link up so that I can be inspired by your choices of kindness each month.  We're always looking for more ideas and it would be nice to see our collective effort in making this world a more kind place to live.

Here's hoping for a year full of Kindness and Love to you and your family!


  1. Tabitha,

    I love the acts of kindness list especially sending thank you notes to friends. Notes are so rare these days that I save every special note that I receive. Diapers and wipes would also be a nice surprise for a mommy although I may be afraid to use them.

  2. Thanks for this great idea! My husband and I just made a list of things for us to do with our almost 5 year old. We "stole" some of yours and added a beach clean-up and an attempt to bring our neighbors together with a pumpkin-growing contest! Off to post on the fridge . . . thank you again.

  3. I think I came acress your blog via pinterest (ways to love your little boy) I'm a mom of three and a former teacher. I don't follow too many blogs but I enjoy yours and was so happy to find inspiration from your 12 months of kindess. We are always looking for ways to involve our kids and our main goal is to teach them so share what they have with others and to always be kind (of course this can be a bit hard when growing up, but just more lessons learned!) I'm looking forward to creating the list with my family and posting it in our kitchen. I also enjoyed your book recommendations. I've been looking for some new reads. And, my gift to my husband this year was also the 12 planned dates. Looking forward to it! Have a great Sunday!

  4. just wanted to tell you a friend of mine posted your Rules for Mothers of Sons on facebook and I came across it. I am the mother of three grown sons and am also recently divorced. Your blog meant so much to me, especially as I am trying to rebuild my life and reflecting on how I have spent my life raising my children. I felt like it was a validation and one I truly needed. Thank you for your wonderful thoughts. I know your children are in good hands, and keep on writing!

  5. for the green part, try 20-mule team borax. i use that s&*# on everything! plus concentrated mrs meyers cleaning projects smell heavenly and you can reuse old containers. egg shells are also easy to compost, tea bags too! you can buy a plastic bin that will turn itself (very easy) or build one out of hay bales on your gigantic lot of land. g'luck! i love that you do this- so inspiring!