A New Take on April Fool’s Day

Traditionally, April 1 is “April Fool’s Day,” an opportunity to play harmless and fun jokes and tricks on others.   Frankly, I’ve never been a fan.

Not much is known about the origin of this holiday.  One popular origin tale is that when the Gregorian Calendar  moved the first day of the year from April 1 to January 1, not everyone got the message, or simply chose to ignore it.

After all, there was no internet then to spread the word.  Those who continued to view April 1 as the first day of the year were called “Fools”.

But this story doesn’t hold water because the history of pranking on April 1 started long before the Gregorian Calendar came along in 1582, and it also has traditions around the world.

Another theory is that the timing of a day of pranks is tied to the arrival of spring, when nature “fools” humankind with fickle weather.  That explanation makes sense to me, particularly this year.

Do we really want to fool people?

Now I consider myself to have a good sense of humor.  Everyone who knows me would agree.   But I am not a fan of pranks.  I just don’t see the humor in putting salt in the sugar jar or tying someone’s shoe laces together.

Perhaps it’s really just a day to let off steam and let out your passive aggressive nature.  But there’s got to be a better way.

So, not being a fan of April Fool’s Day, I propose a new April 1 tradition:

April Appreciation Day

What a wonderful way to celebrate the renewal of mother earth.  Let her children know they are loved and appreciated.

As we know from my Workaholic post, I am often in a rush and do everything fast.   And in my daily interactions I’m sorry to admit that I don’t always even make much eye contact with the cashier or barista.

In The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated), author Tim Ferriss gives an assignment of spending two days making good eye contact with everyone you meet.  What a revelation that was.  I loved it and have been doing it ever since.  It has inspired me to try harder to make people feel appreciated.  So I’ve been thinking about other ways to do it and here they are.

Little ways to show appreciation on April 1:

  • Say “Please” and “thank you” always
  • Make eye contact
  • Hold the door open and let people enter before you
  • Let other drivers enter your lane
  • Answer phone calls, emails and invitations promptly
  • Bring treats to work for your co-workers
  • Pay the toll for the car behind you
  • Pay for the coffee of the next person in line
  • Let someone in front of you in the grocery line
  • Let moms with children and the elderly go before you
  • Put coins in a stranger’s expired parking meter
  • Remember people’s birthdays
  • Give sincere compliments

Research shows that acts of kindness increase our levels of serotonin [the hormone that makes us feel happy] and strengthen our immune system.  Amazingly, those who witness acts of kindness get the same benefit as those performing and receiving these acts.

So, just for a day, show appreciation and kindness as much as you can.  My guess is that it may become addictive!!  And what other ways can you come up with?

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Molly Larkin

Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller "The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman”  and other books on health. She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes, healing practice and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com

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