Are Good Deeds A Good Idea?!

Nan started this one off….. When we visited her last week she was STILL talking about the time, two Christmases ago now, when she went shopping in her local shop to buy biscuits for her carers. The lady who was helping her reach them down from the shelf took the biscuits and other things she’d picked up to the counter while she picked up one final item. When nan got to the counter and got her purse out to pay she was told that she owed nothing as the man in the queue before her had paid for all of her shopping as his good deed of the day.

As this event, given she’s still talking about it 2 years later, obviously meant so much to nan, I thought perhaps it would be a good idea to try and do as a kind of new year’s resolution?

I’m not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions as a whole. I’ve Googled some lovely definitions of them though –

“A New Year’s resolution is a tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person makes a promise to do an act of self-improvement or something slightly nice, such as opening doors for people beginning from New Year’s Day.” (Ahhh, can you imagine spending the whole year hanging out by doors in the hope you can open them for someone?! Slightly nice!)


a promise that you make to yourself to start doing something good or stop doing something bad on the first day of the year: “Have you made any New Year’s resolutions?” “Yes, I’m going to eat more healthily and give up smoking.

If you ask me these should, on the whole, be redefined as a brilliant idea at the time (especially if you’ve had a new year’s bevvie or two) that might well set you up for a fall either sooner or later and make you feel worse about yourself and/or fatter/unfitter/smoke-ier when you comfort eat/sit watching tv/smoke to get over your remorse! (All power to those who do make resolutions and manage to stick to them though!)

Anyway, I decided that I would try doing a good deed every day.

How long do you think I lasted?

Well, someone took the mickey on day 5 which made me feel exceptionally bad tempered. However, that instance might have been classed more as a favour rather than as a good deed as I was specifically asked to do it, rather than finding something nice to do and doing it off my own back. So really it wasn’t my fault when a further 4 caveats were added to the favour after I’d agreed to do it, leaving me feeling pretty put upon and generally growly rather than light, fluffy and full of favourfulfillingfluffiness (yes, that is a thing).

However, that grumpiness carried on to yesterday when my good deed was “Didn’t have a hissy fit when the ignorant man in the queue at the bank pushed in front of me even though he and the cashier knew I was there first and despite the fact that I was trying to get to work on time when he was obviously just dossing around and had nothing better to do than stand behind me in the queue or, as it happened, blatantly push in front of me completely underminining the purpose of having a queue “. It’s not going so well is it?! It’s just as well I was such a rubbish Brownie as doing a good deed every day at the age of under 10 years old may just have set me up for a lifetime of therapy!

Then there are the people who don’t actually want you to do a good deed for them. A few years ago now I was in a local shop and the lady in front of me was 2p short for her shopping. The guy behind the counter was obviously not going to help her, just sitting there staring at her and she was getting flustered and trying to find an item to return to the shelf, so I stepped in and handed over the 2p, as I’m sure most of us would. She was grateful, he was very grunty and I felt pleased I could help. However, next time I went back there he handed 2p over to me as the lady had gone back and given him the money to give back to me. Perhaps it was just her very good manners that made her do it, but it left me feeling a little sad that she felt the need to do it.

One of my friends posted the following on Facebook recently, and I’ve seen it posted before on other peoples pages in the past too:-

“To start this year off in a loving way I’m participating in this Pay-It-Forward initiative: The first five people who comment on this status with “I’m in”, will receive a surprise from me at some point in this calendar year – anything from a book, a ticket, a visit, something home grown or made, a postcard, absolutely any surprise! There will be no warning and it will happen when the mood comes over me and I find something that I believe would suit you and make you happy. …These five people must make the same offer in their FB status and distribute their own joy. Simply copy this text onto your profile, so we can form a web of connection and kindness. Let’s do more nice and loving things for each other in 2015,without any reason other than to make each other smile and to show that we think of each other. Here’s to a more enjoyable, more friendly and love filled year.”

It’s a really lovely idea and I wish I’d got there within the first 5 people to have a go…which left me wondering how you’d feel if the first 5 people weren’t those that you’d have chosen if you’d wanted to do nice things for 5 people? Or what if these people went back on their word and didn’t make the same offer on their own page? The Pay It Forward idea is great though – did you see the film about it?

So, rather than have a complete nervous breakdown before the third week of the year by trying to do good deeds, I’d like to think that I’m the kind of person who would do a good deed anyhow if it needed doing (ie picking up the woman out of the road outside the pub on 4th January when lots of other people were walking straight past, assuming I guess that she had been drinking when in fact she’d turned her ankle stepping in a pothole) or when I felt like doing something nice for someone. Hopefully that way I’ll be making some people out there happier this year, making myself feel a bit better at the same time and not risking my health by feeling obliged to go into my daughter’s room to tidy it as I can’t think of anything else good deed-y to do today! Although, perhaps the advice I’m giving you in the photo below could be my classed as my good deed of the day?!