Because random acts of kindness have serious power — power to cause ripples we can't see and may never know about, but the effects of which can last for years, even lifetimes. I know, because RAKs have pushed me forward and given me hope and inspiration I'd never had before. When I was active on Yahoogroups years ago, I met some beautiful, selfless artists, both hobbyists and professionals, and I owe them big time for championing my creativity and seeing beauty in even my smallest, first efforts at art, until I learned to value it myself. (In fact, I could use a little more of that championing now. My inspiration levels have been sporadic lately. ;))
I'm pretty sure that without the gracious, positive spirit that drove my artist friends — people I've still never met in person — to RAK and otherwise support me, I wouldn't believe in my crafting ability enough to have officially started a crafts business. I'd have dabbled, sure, and maybe sold a piece here and there. But it wasn't until I saw that other people valued me and my work that I considered my work might be marketable enough to work hard to bring it to the world. And while I'm certainly not rich (yet? ;)), or as creatively productive as I'm aiming to be, it would have been a pity if I had died without ever trying to combine inspiration and making a living. RAKs have helped me check that item off my bucket list, and it's in honor of the people whose positivity has supported me, past and present, that I want to pay it forward, too.
To me, the spirit of paying it forward/performing random acts of kindness is a little different from the spirit of donating to a charity. PIF and RAKs are more direct, more immediate, more personal: You choose a specific person and do something good for them right now, yourself. No intermediaries, no holding kindness in reserve until a disaster strikes and it's needed desperately. PIF and RAK are almost like preventative positive acts — do enough of them and they could help keep disaster from striking, or at least lessen the impact of the disaster if or when it does strike.
I still don't have much of a clue what I'm going to do tomorrow, but to encourage PIF/RAK spirit in other people, this is what I'll do:
For every comment I get on this blog post containing the story of a PIF or RAK someone has done this week (from April 25 through May 1), I will give a random, surprise discount to a future order from the Star and Crossbones Etsy shop.
So if I get 10 comments on this post that meet the below criteria, 10 random future orders from the shop will get a surprise discount.
Furthermore, I will give 15% off any item in my Etsy shop to each person who posts a PIF or RAK story.
For comments to count, you must:
a) Post the comment on this post.
b) Tell me about how you paid it forward or RAKed someone this week (from April 25 through May 1).
c) Use an identifiable name to post the comment and/or provide your Etsy username in the comment. To get your Etsy discount, use the code PIFDAY2010 and tell me the name you posted your comment under. Add the aforementioned information in the "comments to seller" box when you check out, OR convo me before you make your purchase and I'll adjust the listing for you.
One PIF Day discount code per person, if you please ... but one person can earn multiple surprise Etsy discounts for other people. I'll add one more surprise Etsy order discount for:
- each tweet that contains a link back to this blog post and includes "@starncrossbones" (so I can see that you tweeted about it ;));
- each Facebook mention that contains a link back to this blog post and tags Star and Crossbones (you use the same format — type "@Star and Crossbones" into the Facebook post and it should link to the Star and Crossbones Facebook fan page).
If you tweet or post on Facebook about my PIF Day goodness, leave another comment to let me know about it, okay?
Let the PIFing and RAKing begin! Remember, anything you do from April 25 through May 1 counts! Aaaaand ... go! ;)