Family Kindness Challenge In Surat.
Surat is hosting a family kindness challenge, which is anchored by servicespace volunteers in surat. The idea to start a Family kindness challenge in Surat came from a virtual Awakin circle held last week, where Rohit was a guest speaker. The virtual circle gave a unique opportunity for the circle to invite him, and he shared with us his efforts of spreading positivity in the lockdown with the Family Kindness Challenge he is anchoring in Ranchi with his friends and family. Local anchors and volunteers inspired by him jumped on the idea and took the initiative to start a Surat Circle.
The lockdown and pandemic is an extraordinary situation in the world, one which can aggravate feelings of anxiety and negative thought patterns. Still, for this very reason, there's never been a better time to be consciously kind and lean on the support of the community. Speaking of the response that we received was overwhelming and diverse. So much so that the initial plan to have a single group was dropped, and we made three groups of 20-25 people each to ensure greater intimacy and connection in the sharing. After day 2, we got so many more inquiries and requests from the participants' family members and friends that we ended up making two more groups to accommodate them all.
Even more delightful was the fact that a lot of people signing up for it were not yet associated with the service space community but were eager to take part in the kindness challenge. As the days went on, many of them revealed that they had never shared their thoughts and feelings in such a manner, and how fulfilling it was for them. It was beautiful to see the enthusiasm and ripples that these acts were causing in these times of lockdown - many people felt that these activities helped them deeply connect with people they share their home (not just the physical home) with - family, helpers, and friends over calls/video calls, etc. We experienced physical distancing and social solidarity in the process.
About the challenge
The challenge involved a daily task that could be done at home, ranging from small gestures to giving compliments to your family, cooking food for someone at home, to bringing about a change in your thinking by not complaining for a day.
Everyone keenly shared the completion of their tasks on the groups with uplifting pictures and messages about how it made them feel, and their learnings and insights.
Pouring in of the messages
As the days progressed, the kindness poured in. Drashti gave a pleasant surprise to her sister and cleaned and organized her wardrobe, and Linkee lovingly gave a bath to her cute little neighbour Pari! It was such a joy to see everyone lending a hand to their loved ones, and like Jignasubhai shared, stepping in someone else's shoes gave him a newfound appreciation for them, which was a common sentiment. The heartwarming instance where Zeal reached out to her help with love and Lalita didi's adoring reaction was mirrored in so many houses
It felt like a celebration, with everyone taking the time to express their gratitude explicitly. Sheetal and Nupur cooked the favorite meals for their house help for them. Others posted pictures of sumptuous savouries and deserts they cooked from ginger tea for their wife, cheese garlic bread and cookies for their children, an all authentic south Indian thali for the whole family, Manchurian, paneer tikka, burger, Pani Puri to a fancy vegan Biscoff ice-cream, and so many delicious dishes - but the one common ingredient in all these dishes was love, bringing to life the mantra food + love = prasad! Pearly prepared a menu card and invited her entire family for a family dinner with the star dish of the menu being "Maa ka Pyaar".
To give up complaining for a day was challenging, but it was evident from the messages that everyone was actively trying to watch and shape their thoughts. Kamini shared her brilliant idea of avoiding the news and focusing on all the good things in her life.
Creative minds were foraging their houses to find whatever material they could, and beautiful art and craft projects were shared on the group, along with heartfelt poems and songs. Nupur designed and crafted a six people ludo game, with the limited resources at her home, so all the members of her house could play together. Alwina's friend, who had to cancel her baby shower, thanked her and told her how special she felt when Alwina made a lovely and thoughtful drawing for her. Sonia shared a collage of sunsets that she watched together with her family, and Sarvesh soulfully played a song on the keyboard and dedicated it to his parents, using the power of music to soothe minds.
The pictures of hugging and loving touches radiated such warmth and coziness. Hugs and head massages were the words of the day! Recounting his daughters' school days, Jignasubhai oiled his now grown-up daughter's hair after so many years, and Renuka told us how charmingly conscious her mother in law became when she asked her to selfie together and made her hair before she allowed her to take the picture!
Midway through the challenge, there was a virtual circle for all of us to share our insights and reflect on our collective kindness acts. To finally see all the compassionate faces, sitting with their families, was profoundly touching! We shared our highlights of the week, and there were so many! Our belief in the ripple effects of this was strengthened with Renukabhabi telling us about how her grandmother was moved and now interested in the tasks we were doing and Gulshan and Anamika's sharing of they spent time with their house help Ria, who was feeling homesick and worried about her family, and played the games with her that she played in her village and it instantly changed her mood.
Manishbhai was quick to point the integrity of the process with which we were spreading kindness. The power of the circle (although virtual) was so different from the WhatsApp group, and one could connect to the core of this entire exercise and feel the emotions.