Book Giveaway and Excerpt: HumanKind: Changing the World One Small Act at a Time

Dear KOM-ers!

We’re so happy to feature a new book giveaway!

Please enjoy this excerpt from “HumanKind: Changing the World One Small Act at a Time” by Brad Aronson.

There are 2 ways to enter to win your FREE signed hard copy:

  1. Leave a comment below with your email address (so we can contact you)
  2. Email us at KOMWriting@gmail.com with the Subject: HumanKind giveaway entry

Winner will be randomly selected on 9/28/20 and announced on our website and social media. *

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Brad Aronson’s life changed in an instant when his wife, Mia, was diagnosed with leukemia. After her diagnosis, Brad spent most of the next two and a half years either by her side as she received treatment or trying to shield their five-year-old son, Jack, from the worst of Mia’s illness. Amid the stress and despair of waiting for the treatment to work, Brad and Mia were met by an outpouring of kindness from friends, family and even complete strangers.

Inspired by the many demonstrations of “humankindness” that supported their family through Mia’s recovery, Brad began writing about the people who rescued his family from that dark time, often with the smallest of gestures. But he didn’t stop there. Knowing that simple acts of kindness transform lives across the globe every day, he sought out these stories and shares some of the best ones here.

In HumanKind, you’ll meet the mentor who changed a child’s life with a single lesson in shoe tying, the six-year-old who launched a global kindness movement, the band of seamstress grandmothers who mend clothes for homeless people and many other heroes.

Brad also provides dozens of ways you can make a difference through the simplest words and deeds.

HumanKind will leave you grateful for what you have and provide a refuge from the negativity that surrounds us. This feel-good book will touch your heart. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll be reminded of what really matters.

** All author royalties go to Big Brothers Big Sisters. **

Excerpt: Two Little Words

No one is more familiar with the power of words than my friend Cheryl Rice. She needs only two words to open channels between people in a profound way. It began when she was working on a work project that had her so frustrated and upset that she couldn’t sleep at night. Finally, a colleague gave her a card on which were printed just two words, but they were the perfect words: “You Matter.”

Cheryl teared up when she read the message. “I’ve struggled at times with my own self-worth, and when I received the card, it felt as if a question I carry around with me had been answered. I matter. That expression from her to me filled me up.”

She was so touched by the gesture that she ordered a hundred of her own cards to give away, first to family and friends and then just to acquaintances. Eventually, she also started leaving cards in strategic locations to brighten strangers’ days – in the credit card holders at gas pumps, in library books, on windshields.

And then she got bolder.

She was standing in a checkout line one day behind a woman of about sixty. When the cashier asked her how she was, the woman said, “Not so good. My husband just lost his job and my son is acting out. The truth is, I don’t know how I’m going to get through the holidays.” Then she handed her food stamps to the cashier.

“My heart ached,” Cheryl says. “I wanted to help but didn’t know how. Should I offer to pay for her groceries? Ask for her husband’s résumé? I did nothing, and the woman left the store.”

As Cheryl walked into the parking lot, she spotted the woman returning her shopping cart and remembered something in her purse that might help her. Her heart pounded as she approached the woman.

“Excuse me,” she said. “I overheard what you said to the cashier. It sounds like you’re going through a really hard time. I’d like to give you something.” And she handed her a “You Matter” card.

When the woman read it, she began to cry. “You have no idea how much this means to me,” she said through her tears and hugged Cheryl.

“I hadn’t anticipated her reaction,” Cheryl says, “and when I walked back to my car, I cried, too.”[i]

It was such a powerful experience that she wanted to share it. For her final project in her applied positive psychology certificate program in 2016, Cheryl decided to ship sets of thirty “You Matter” cards free to anyone who signed up online and agreed to share this message with others. She called her project the You Matter Marathon.

“If I hadn’t had a card, I don’t know that I would have gone up to that woman and said anything,” she says. “Cards can give us permission to do this. This is what it’s all about – seizing these moments of our common humanity and relating to each other as human beings. I wanted other people to have this experience.”

Recipients say the cards have changed their lives. A woman named Sandy wrote Cheryl with this story:

When I gave my grown son a “You Matter” card, he was fighting to hold back tears. He simply held it and looked at it for about a minute. There was a change in his body language, and I got a sense that he finally believes that he does matter in my life and is loved. We were finally able to have a meaningful conversation.

The reason it made such a difference in both our lives is because of his past. He suffered from depression for many, many years and kept it well hidden. He had two suicide attempts. I see him every few weeks and we have been trying to mend our relationship. It has been a long process.

But there has been a shift in our relationship since giving him the “You Matter” card. He has always been a very quiet, shy person who has difficulty sharing his thoughts. Now he is opening up more.… The “You Matter” card was the link I needed to reach him.

The cards tend to change givers’ lives, too. Julie, another Marathon participant, wrote:

Having the “You Matter” cards ready to hand out has caused me to look at people differently. It’s hard for me to approach strangers, so this is an opportunity for growth. I try to find people with whom I can have a meaningful interaction. Consequently, I am really looking at people.… This is making me a much more connected human.

Which is exactly the idea. “The givers of the cards make this acknowledgement of others a part of their way of being,” Cheryl says. “With or without the cards. With eye contact, common courtesy, letting someone cut in line, a few kind words. These are training wheels, and at the end my hope is that people are changed.”

The idea has caught on. The You Matter Marathon – no running required – is in its fourth year, and more than a million cards have been given out in all fifty states and seventy-three countries.

1  Julie’s and Sandy’s quotations were provided by You Matter Marathon.

* By entering this contest, you give consent to Kind Over Matter to use your name for promotional purposes on our website and on all social media. 

NOTE: “HumanKind” can be purchased on Amazon.

Brad Aronson
Brad Aronson is the author of the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller "HumanKind: Changing the World One Small Act At a Time." One small deed can make a world of difference. This heartwarming read shares real-life, feel-good stories of transformative kindness. “I think this might be the most beautiful book I’ve ever read” - Jane Green, New York Times bestselling author. Brad is deeply involved with youth nonprofits. He’s on the boards of Big Brothers, Big Sisters and Hopeworks. Brad also teaches entrepreneurship to students in Camden, NJ. Everyone in his class starts their own business which has led to many adventures in entrepreneurship.

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