The Snowball Effect
Small Acts of Kindness Really Catch On
By Nerf Udoekong, Case Manager, Connected Community Wellness Screen, Oshkosh Area School District (Rise Up)
After the holidays, winter can sometimes seem to drag on, doesn’t it? During these times, it can be hard to find energy or inspiration. I contend that inspiration can be found in the coldest spots. A few weeks ago, I was outside with my son playing in the snow and we began to make a snowball. This was his first experience with snowballs, so I explained to him the snowball effect—as we roll the snowball, it grows and grows until it becomes a giant ball that can be used for so many fun things.
Random acts of kindness work the same way. One kind action, no matter how small, can change the course of a person’s entire day. It can even inspire that person to be kind, and once the ball starts rolling, it has the potential to make a widespread, uplifting impact. Working part-time at a coffee shop, it’s always neat to see a car pay for the car behind them and then see the chain of generosity continue. A recent article in Psychology Today reports acts of kindness given or received can improve resiliency by promoting feelings of happiness and peace. Simply put, kindness inspires.
Acts of kindness also connect us to one another. Sources of Strength, a nationwide evidence-based youth suicide prevention program found in many of our local schools, emphasizes connection as a major component to preventing teens from taking their own lives. One of the strengths that the program promotes is generosity. Generosity helps others and helps us to see others in new ways. Showing others unprompted kindness can truly change someone’s life, and it can breathe a breath of fresh air into our own lives, too. As winter slogs on, try putting a little warmth into someone’s life and heart with an act of kindness. Not many things grow in this cold, but the positive effects of one act of generosity most certainly do.