Leo Babauto, author of Zen Habits wrote a post about acts of kindness (with the goal of bringing people closer together). This is a concept I truly believe in. What prompted him to write was that when he went to the DMV (in Guam where he lives), a woman who works there was particularly helpful and he was so grateful.
And yet, when he was talking with his sister Katrina, she said she felt that most people aren't as kind as they used to be. She's noticed that people say "thank you" less often, and don't smile at strangers. They spend less time walking and talking with each other and more time in their cars where they often act rudely. They watch more TV and spend more time on their computers and less time outdoors interacting with others.
Leo mentioned that when he thinks of ways for people to establish community and help each other, the image that comes to mind is Amish barn raisings.
He is hoping that by offering to do kind things for others (he gave away 50 eBooks to the first 50 people who responded to his post), others will also do acts of kindness.
In the last 18 months, one of my favorite acts of kindness was playing the Autoharp at my mother's assisted living facility. Like Leo at Zen Habits, I'd like to know what my readers are doing to restore kindness and develop a sense of community. Do tell!