by Elaine McAllister

One of my favorite activities with my grandkids involves serving others through random acts of kindness. The opportunities are endless, and will result in blessings for both the giver and receiver.

As we enter the holiday season, life seems to get more hectic, so it’ll take intentionality to accomplish this feat. Though the phrase “random acts of kindness” (and especially the acronym, RAK) is fairly recent, it dates back to biblical times. Self-sacrifice was evident when a youngster saw a need and offered his measly lunch to feed a mighty crowd. His mind must have been blown as he watched what was accomplished when he gave his lunch to Jesus!

We live in a self-serving world; a world where our own needs often come before the needs of others. Our grandchildren, unfortunately, are growing up with that mentality.

As grandparents, what can we do to reverse that trend?

Let’s be examples in every way we can, whether it’s by serving at a soup kitchen or filling a shoebox or donating at a food bank. And better yet, let’s bring our grandkids along when we do so.

Most of my grandchildren are now taller than I am, but I’ll never forget the day when four little ones gathered around my kitchen table to decorate cards and write encouraging notes for our new neighbors. We had just moved to a new town, and together we traipsed down one side and up the other side of the street—in 103-degree heat!—delivering cold bottles of water, each with an attached note. The smiles of the recipients (and the givers) were priceless as we rang doorbells and delivered cool refreshment. My grands still talk about that day.

There are so many ways we can serve one another.

Consider these ideas:

  • Buy a few bud vases at a thrift store, add a single carnation, and deliver some joy to someone who is homebound or living in a nursing home.
  • Make some puppy chow or trail mix together, then fill some zipper bags with the tasty treat to deliver to your city workers – police officers, EMTs, firefighters, etc.
  • Get involved in the ever-popular pre-Christmas effort to fill shoeboxes with goodies for less-privileged children.
  • Bake brownies for the staff at your grandchildren’s school(s) and deliver them to the office just for fun.

An added way to impact your grandchildren is by taking time to decompress. Ask them how it made them feel to do these RAKs for others. Have them suggest other things to do the next time. Discuss how their efforts were received by those you served. Would they do it again? Usually, they answer with a resounding “YES!”

Children learn by example and are eager to serve, as was the little boy with the lunch. This is especially true if they are encouraged to do so in creative ways by grandparents. Make it a habit to be a blessing and encourage your grands to do the same!

Elaine McAllister is an award-winning, multi-genre author, columnist, blogger, journalist, and speaker who lives with her husband, Jim, somewhere in the middle of Kansas. Her books include Celebrate Grandparenting: 101 Ideas to Intentionally Connect with your Grands. She is passionate about generational storytelling and grandparenting, and is especially fond of eight (soon to be nine) of the best-ever kids who know her as Gramma Mac. Connect with Elaine on Facebook here or online at