Ring in Kindness This New Year
Brad Montague resolves to help spread kindness–will you join him?
Words by Laura Drummond
A new year is upon us. It’s time to make resolutions that maybe we’ll keep and make black-eyed peas and greens for good luck that maybe we’ll eat. It’s also time to take a cup of kindness yet as the auld song goes, and that’s one thing we definitely can do–just by watching The Kindness Project.
This special, now available on the Magnolia Network and Discovery+, follows Brad Montague on a quest of discovery to see if one kind act can lead to another—and if it’ll keep going. This feel-good program is sure to help you start off the new year with a sense of hope and possibility.
You may know Brad Montague as the creator of the viral video series Kid President, the author and illustrator of Becoming Better Grownups, or one half of Montague Workshop, the creative studio he shares with his wife Kristi. Now Montague adds television special host to his long list of creative credits, albeit reluctantly. “It was never my goal to be in front of the camera,” he said. “If it helps remind somebody to love the people around them a little better, then it’s worth the discomfort.”
Once Montague wrapped his head around the idea, he began to have big dreams for the show. “This is television! It’s a visual medium! Do something big and splashy,” he thought. The result, however, isn’t showy. Montague’s not gifting people cars or houses or bags full of money. His acts of kindness are much simpler and understated, but they are no less meaningful. It’s the simplicity that makes it so significant—the acts of kindness could be done by anyone anywhere, regardless of age, location, or resources. Montague realized, “the most powerful thing we could do is remind people they have everything they need right now to make somebody else’s day.”
For this standalone episode—hopefully there are more to come—Montague traveled from his small town in Tennessee to Ann Arbor, Michigan, a place he had never visited. Watching The Kindness Project, it’s clear Montague is uneasy about approaching strangers. As he takes on his first act of kindness—handing out flowers to passersby on the street—he’s worried about how they’ll react. “It's uncomfortable to put yourself out there in ways that might be disruptive to people's lives,” Montague said. “But I think maybe we've had enough business as usual, and we need to be a little unusual.” When he does work up the courage to approach people, the response is resoundingly positive.
Spoiler alert: It turns out, watching someone else step out of their comfort zone to spread kindness helps others take the leap as well. It becomes evident very quickly in the episode that one kind act does beget another. Montague’s courage to connect with others despite his discomfort offers a shining example to us all, conveying how we can spread light in our own communities. “I’m not an expert on being kind. It’s an aspiration of mine to be a kind person,” said Montague. “I hope people are reminded that goodness is possible. Good is already happening all around us. We all just need to have eyes to see it and courage to create it.”
In fact, it's Montague’s wish that after watching the special, people everywhere will want to take on their own little acts of kindness within their communities. Montague describes it as positive cultural disruption, “doing something that joyfully rebels against what is in order to show people what could be.” Maybe it’s a compliment to a cashier. A snack for a service worker. A nice note to a neighbor. A favor for a friend. In my case, it’s sharing The Kindness Project with you, wishing you’ll watch it and feel a little better, a little more connected, a little more hopeful. Maybe it’ll even encourage you to spread kindness, too.
Learn more about The Kindness Project at montagueworkshop.com.