I have to admit, its been a rough few months seeing such negative banter in my news feeds. It's been a potent mix of left vs right and I am huge believer in the freedom of speech, but I also believe if you have nothing nice to say, then don't say it. It's hard to sit back and watch such a divide in our country. It's left me with plenty to contemplate, and work through as an individual, a mother, a woman and even a wife. The last thing I want is my children to act this way amongst their peers. I have one chance to get it right with my four little ones and even though I may seem quite polished in the parenting know-alls, the truth is every day is quite the unchartered journey.
For my children, I want them to only practice being kind and it starts with us parents. I don't need any external influences or an audience for that matter to instill kindness. Hatred, is sadly right in front of me, filling my news feed every where I turn. Haven't we learned as a society from those that have left an unforgettable footprint? "I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear," said Martin Luther King. John Lennon once said, "It matters not who you love, where you love, why you love, when you love or how you love, it matters only that you love.” These words have resonated with me and has hit my mothering core. I want my kids to rise above any obstacle, but with kindness at their forefront while achieving their goals.
This week has been a special week at my children's school. It's called The Great Kindness Challenge and was started by parents just like you and me. What started organically as a neighborhood group of kids wanting to make our world a better place, has grown into an interconnected network of young peacebuilders worldwide thanks to Carlsbad, California mom, Jill McManigal.
"In 2011, the elementary school that Jill’s children attended asked Kids for Peace to help create a more positive, unified and respectful school environment. As a result, The Great Kindness Challenge was designed and piloted with three Carlsbad, California schools. Because of our innovative approach and wildly successful results, word spread, and a kindness movement was born!"
I was so happy to learn that the heart of this challenge started right in my own town. The heart of it all is the simple belief that kindness is strength. We all know that once an action is repeated, a habit is formed, Right? It works that way with Math, or even brushing your teeth, so why not with kindness? "With the Great Kindness Challenge checklist in hand, students have the opportunity to repeat a kind act, after kind act. As kindness becomes a habit, peace becomes possible."
I was so touched when I learned our school participates in such an empowering movement. My daughter has recently joined our local Brownie troop and her leaders asked all the girls to show up to school before school started with signs expressing kindness. Here I was, finding myself elated at this little persons kindness protest. After we greeted all the kids, teachers and parents at school, I found myself in a pool of tears. I thought to myself, "What kind of world would we live in if we all applied this Great Kindness Challenge to our lives? What if we went beyond its designated week and practiced this every single day? How harmonious would our country look like? How peaceful would we be?
It starts with me! I am going to take this challenge and apply it to my everyday parenting and make sure I am molding my children into being more compassionate, tolerant, kinder little humans. If we all work together, I do believe we could prove that our world could be rich in compassion and filled with KINDNESS. Some things we did this week included:
- reading a book to a younger child
- entertaining someone with a happy dance
- smiling at 25 people
- pushing someone on a swing
- giving (5) $5.00 Starbucks cards to strangers
- saying good morning to everyone who passes by
- cutting out ten hearts and leaving them on ten cars
Click HERE to download a copy of all the acts of kindness you too can participate in with your kids.
The rain is finally dissipating in Southern California. The sun is soothing the stormy winds that has left us with a month of cloudy skies. I do believe life is unpredictable just like the weather, but one thing that I know is for certain, is that we CAN control our actions. I am not just molding my children for me, but I am doing it more so for when I have to relinquish my role as the primary conductor of their lives. I too hope to leave a footprint on their souls, but I will make sure that it's filled with heartfelt optimism and overflowing with KINDNESS.
"The time is always right to do whats right" ~ Martin Luther King Jr.