One of the most wonderful ways of reaching across space and time to touch the lives of other people is by performing acts of kindness randomly. A simple act of kindness performed at one point of the world can travel to touch the life of another on the opposite side of the world. However, it is not always an easy task as some acts may benefit the receiver but due to the norms of the society, the acts may be interpreted as deviance. I set out to randomly perform acts of kindness for strangers some of which the society would consider as deviance. These acts included visiting my friends uncle in the prison, giving alms to beggars on the streets, contributing to a call for helping the homeless in Africa after watching a documentary on CNN, and offering to give a lecture on self esteem to students of a school in my neighborhood. All these actions left me feeling good about myself but different people reacted differently to it. There were those who were opposed to my actions but anyhow I went ahead and did them. I learnt that, when performing random acts of kindness, the most important thing is not the societys opinion but what one feels after accomplishing it.

It is important for everyone in the whole world to perform acts of kindness randomly as this makes the world we live in a better place. It also gives us an opportunity to explore the potential in all of us with regard to divine humanness. Its not hard to perform acts of kindness as majority of people believe. All one needs to do is to have the intention to perform the acts and then carry them out. It doesnt have to be a big thing just a small deed is enough so long as it positively impacts the life of the receiver. When carrying out acts of kindness, its always good for people to remember that an act that may seem small to them may be big to the receivers. The good thing about this is that it makes one feel good as they carry it out and after carrying it out. This is because it makes one feel that they have contributed positively to the world.

One of the acts of kindness I carried out was to give alms to two beggars on the streets. Normally I dont give alms to beggars on the streets. This is because I always feel that they would utilize my hard earned money well. I always feel repulsed when a beggar who is reeking of alcohol asks for money from me. This is because I usually feel that after I have given them the money, they will rush to the next whisky store and buy more alcohol instead of doing something constructive with it. Another reason why I do not give them money is because I agree with the society that giving the beggars on the streets money does not help them. On the contrary, it only serves to encourage begging and promotes poverty in the society. My motivation in doing this was to obey Gods command which says that we should give alms to the poor among us. I have also always heard individuals say that giving alms helps to liberate the soul of the giver.

Labeling theory of deviance indicates that an action is only deviant if the society has labeled it as such. As I was giving the alms, I could see expressions of disapproval on the faces of the passersby. This is because the society sees the action as a way of encouraging begging which is seen as a vice. Some even commented and said something to the effect that I was stupid. According to this theory, the society labeled me as deviant. The differential-association theory of deviance indicates that deviant behavior is learnt and that the environment is a major influencing factor. As I was giving alms, I felt good I felt liberated just as people have always said. I knew that were it not for the people who had pointed out the feelings associated with giving alms, I would not have felt this good.

Normally I watch CNN news on poverty with a lot of disinterest. Poverty news has always been there nothing seems to ever change or rather the only thing that seems to change is the location where the documentary was taped. Last week I went home and as usual switched on the television. There was a documentary feature about poverty level in a country called Kenya which is in Africa continent. It showed how extreme the problem of homelessness was. It showed people majority of who were women and children living in tattered tents and others in open air. This was due to the governments failure to build houses for them after their houses were burned down during violence that rocked the country following general elections two years ago. The people had no food and the living conditions in the camps were pathetic in general. There were calls for well wishers to contribute money to help in building houses for these homeless people. After watching this documentary I was touched and decided to spare part of my savings for contribution. I noted down the bank account number and the following day deposited my contribution.

When I told my parents what I had done, they were not amused. This is because there has been a general reluctance among people to contribute money towards such programs. This is usually due to the belief and revelations that the money does not reach the intended but that it ends up in the pockets of others who are out to enrich themselves. My parents said that I had wasted my money. According to the labeling theory of deviance, my parents labeled me a waster. Following this labeling, my parents decided to reduce my allowances. This is in line with what the theory says that labeling has its consequences. However, on my side I felt that I had done my part and my conscience felt clear despite the allowances having been reduced. I felt that I had helped to alleviate poverty. The CNNs documentary on poverty conditions in Kenya made me to deviate from the social norms. This is in line with Differential-association theory of deviance which indicates that the media leads us to defy.

Another act of kindness that I did was to visit my friends uncle in prison. The motivation for this came from watching a movie on a weekend. In the movie, there was a scene where some prisoners were wishing that they had people to visit them. After watching the movie I decided to put a smile on a prisoners face. I remembered that my friends uncle was a prisoner. He was imprisoned two years ago. The reason as to why he was jailed was that he was caught defiling a minor. Following this, the family denounced him and even never attended his trial. In addition they vowed never to visit him in prison. I called my friend and asked him whether he would accompany me to go and see his uncle. He was reluctant but after persuasion he agreed but on condition that no one would know. We went and visited him. He was very happy. He told us that no one had ever visited him not even his friends.

After this visit, I felt happy to have touched someones life. This was despite the societys view of such an act as rebellion. The society distances itself from criminals and anyone who associates with them are seen as deviants. According to the deviance theory of labeling, we would be regarded as deviants by the society. The deviance theory known as control theory states that there are internal and external controls that acts to prevent us from being deviant. Controls such as family and the desire to be good people did not deter us from going to visit the prisoner. We acted in a deviant manner and felt good about it.

Finally, I offered to give a lecture on self esteem to students of a school in my neighborhood. I remembered how I used to feel unloved as a teenager. This was because my parents even though economically able, did not want to buy me some of the things I desired. They said that it was a waste of money. I wanted to be like my peers but since I did not have some of the things they had, I always tended to view myself as unworthy. This negatively affected my academic performance. However, one day our school hired a counselor to come and give us a talk on self esteem. The counselor said that we should never measure our worth by comparing ourselves with others. Following this, I started to feel important and my academic performance improved to a point that I started topping the class. I decided to give a lecture to these students and believed that someones life would be changed. The principal of this school offered to pay me but I declined. When I told my parents that I had declined, they were furious and said that they would not grant me permission to go. I went against their wish. After delivering the lecture I felt at peace. The Anomie theory of deviance talks of how conflict of social norms leads to confusion. According to this theory, I applied a deviant behavior in order to achieve my goal. My parents viewed it as rebellion and considered me a deviant as the labeling theory of deviance shows.

Its clear from the above discussion that an act of kindness when performed randomly is only seen as a good act by the receiver and the giver. The societys view differs. This happens especially when the act goes contrary to the societys norm.

According to the society, an act is deviant regardless of whether the parties involved i.e. both the receiver and the giver are happy with it.


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