Motivating people to practice intentional acts of kindness

The Broken Window Approach

In New York City, and now here in Los Angeles, a unique philosophy is guiding efforts to make the city clean, attractive, safe and secure. It is known as "The Broken Window Approach". And it works!! NYC has reduced crime 50% or more and restored that great city to a high level of security, attractiveness, optimism and hope. It started the way it sounds: simply fixing the often small panes of glass that had been shattered. They were not crucial openings but they gradually lowered people's standards.

The Broken Window Approach (TBWA) is the idea that taking care of small things causes a reaction that affects everybody for the better. TBWA motivates care and concern about the big things and the trickledown effect curtails crime, cleans up outlooks, and changes people. When small problems are fixed, other things change and everybody benefits.

We want to apply TBWA through Care and Kindness. Small acts, we believe, trigger other small acts, and together they lead to renewed and revolutionized attitudes. When kindness, politeness, generosity, etiquette, in small ways, touches another's life, goodness, virtue, and compassion are generated on a major level. We think the simple acts of care and kindness approach can lead to greater intentions toward honesty, integrity, commitment, and every other expression of solid high level virtuous behavior.

John Templeton says: "Life is not made up...of great sacrifices or high level duties, but of little things. The smiles, the kindnesses, the commitments and obligations and responsibilities...given habitually and lovingly, are the blessings that win and preserve the heart and bring comfort to one's self as well as to others." (Templeton 488)

Greet someone. Pause and generate a compliment for the clerk. Mention the nice smile on someone's face. Thank someone thoughtfully. The Broken Window Approach in action. The world will brighten.


Do you have an idea on how to apply the TBWA? Please share it with us in an email to or Like us on Facebook and add a comment there.

      Silly Thoughts

At my age ’Getting lucky’ means walking into a room and remembering what I came in there for.

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Dr. James Kok

Dr. James Kok is the founder of the Care and Kindness Campaign