Fall has meant football for decades as people don their teams’ colors and either cheer their team to victory or anguish in their defeat. However, this fall a new kind of competition took place. One that focused on making everyone a winner and spreading kindness throughout the world. It was time for the Compassion Games!
I have always loved a little healthy competition and the Compassion Games were a chance for me to flex my competitive muscle in a completely new way. The idea of “Survival of the Kindest” ignited me to perform random acts of kindness for my roommates, my parents and even strangers that I encountered. I never sought out an act of kindness, but rather went about my normal routine.
The first day of the Compassion Games started out with a literal bang. My roommate’s car engine imploded while she was driving to work. Two panicked phone calls later I picked her up at a tow truck lot and drove her to work. It was a small and seemingly insignificant act, but I knew that she appreciated it and never questioned helping her out when she needed it. The best result of all of this was that my roommates began to participate in the Games as well and throughout the week there were surprise cups of coffees, encouraging notes on our chalkboard and a cheesecake that showed up after a stressful day of power outages and a broken dryer.
This kindness became infectious as one of my roommates and I babysat our neighbors’ children free of charge one afternoon so she would be able to run some errands as well as have some peace and quiet. It was once again something that was so small, but we could tell that it meant a lot to her and enjoyed being able to help her out. Compassion is a word that seems insurmountable and while in an ideal world it would be practiced on a daily basis by all people, the Compassion Games are a good way to ignite kindness in a way that is both fun and philanthropic.
Anna Melnykovych, Americorps VISTA