Random Acts of Kindness: Include Your Children

kindness elves

{This is a picture of our kindness elves. We invited them to join us for this special week!}

There’s a quote by the Dalai Lama that proclaims,“If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.” I was blown away by the power of that statement.

I also wondered what kind of impact could be made if each child did one act of kindness each day. I imagine it would have astounding effects. So why not use this special week to teach our kids how to make kindness a daily habit?

five_rak_week_balloons-043efa2ac003ba48dc1c9f0ea7dc8265

Here are a few fun ideas…

My girls recently received a list of “kindness” ideas from school, which is also celebrating Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) week. Out of the list, these rose to the top as my favorites:

  1. Bury treasure on the playground
  2. Compliment someone who is usually mean to you
  3. Leave bubbles on someone’s doorstep
  4. Write a friendly note on the sidewalk to make someone smile
  5. Leave a quarter in the gum ball machine at the store
  6. Tell the principal how great your teacher is
  7. Clean your room without being asked to do it
  8. Gather your bread crust or crumbs from lunch to feed the birds
  9. Invite someone new to play with you at recess
  10. Write a thank you note to the janitors at your school

I love how these ideas encourage creative thinking about the many ways you can brighten someone else’s day. They’re also easy things kids can do – without an adult’s help.

Of course it’s also important for us to include the kids in our own acts of kindness. When they watch us hold the door open for a mother pushing a stroller or smile at the waiter who’s visibly having a bad day, it affects how they behave and treat others.

Kindness is contagious!

One of the goals of this whole experience is to help kids think outside of themselves and beyond their own needs. Once we get them doing this on a regular basis, the habit of kindness is formed.

And perhaps more importantly, kids start observing the world in more productive ways. They might discover a friend in need or recognize a social injustice that could use their attention. Raising kids who focus on what problems they want to solve vs. the job title they want to have one day will surely have more meaningful lives. And who wouldn’t want that?

Here’s to helping the next generation live in a more loving and accepting world – through one act of kindness after another.

-Kate

PS. See you tomorrow with a special kindness challenge!!

Share

Career Thoughts for Your Kids

While the twins and I were driving in the car yesterday, we somehow got on the topic of “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Clara has such a tender heart and loves animals of all shapes and sizes. Avery is incredibly creative and loves painting, writing, singing, dancing…any activity that’s expressive.

My first instinct was to offer typical career choices.

I told Clara she’d be a great veterinarian; and I told Avery she’d make a tremendous art teacher. As the ideas came out of my mouth, though, I felt like I had closed them into such small boxes. Those don’t have to be their only choices, and I don’t want them to feel obligated to those ideas.

I tried to quickly recall my message – like you do with an email that’s sent to the wrong person – and told them that those were just a few ideas, and they could explore lots of options.

That’s when the exciting ideas came. Clara imagined she could have a dog-sitting service or train animals to help people in need. Avery decided she could own a craft store or become a famous singer that inspires people. The conversation was not only more productive, but also more joyful.

After this experience, I realized that instead of asking my kids what they want to be when they grow up, I should just ask what makes them happy.

Sounds simple enough. But once they’ve figured this out, it can then be my job to help them remember, help them hold on to this passion, and encourage them to explore ways to use their gifts to make the world a better place.

It’s totally okay if their personal mission doesn’t line up with existing jobs. Many jobs are becoming extinct – and new ones are being created every day.

If you need a boost in your own career choices or development, think back to when you were 10 years old. What did you love more than anything? Are you doing it today – if not in your career, at least in your hobbies? Figuring this out is a miraculous first step to being joyful – and feeling purposeful. 

If you need an even bigger boost, check out this inspirational presentation by Casey Gerald. My inspiring friend, Mary Eliff, recently shared this with me. It was part of a Creative Mornings lecture series, and has been one (if not the only) speech to receive a standing ovation with this group.

Hopefully it will make you feel inspired. If so, be sure to pass it on. The world needs more inspired people.

Have an incredibly productive day.

-Kate

Share

Creative Tip: Collaborate with Kids

Creative InspirationDon’t you adore the carefree nature and creativity of kids? It seems the younger the child, the fewer filters they have for things that are silly or absurd. They’re incredibly open-minded and able to rationalize things that are seemingly impossible.

I remember a conversation with my son, Evan, when he was a little guy. He said the sun warmed the earth by reaching down with its invisible arms and zapping everything with heated light sabers. His complete confidence in the idea was not only adorable, but also inspiring.

It’s good to forget logic every now and then and play the “what if” game. What if the sun did have invisible arms? You never know when this type of harmless exploration could lead to great inventions.

At the very least, it encourages us to see the world with fresh eyes and broaden our imagination.

There’s an illustrator named Mica Angela Hendricks who believes in collaborating with kids to enhance her creative ideas. She pulled out a sketchbook one day and allowed her five-year-old daughter to add finishing touches to her drawings. The result was astounding. She began to work closely with her little girl to create beautiful and wildly imaginative pieces of art together.

A selection of Mica's work is available for purchase at Society6.

A selection of Mica’s work is available for purchase at Society6.

Give it a try for yourself!

I’m not an illustrator, so I might adapt this idea with cutting pictures from magazines and then working with my kids to build out the story. I saw something like this on Artmommie’s blog.ArtmommieAnother fun idea would be to create a book together. Start with a writing prompt, then take turns writing lines of a story from there. Here are Ten Terrific Writing Prompts I developed to help you get started. You can go back and add pictures once the story is written, and then have it published through a site like blurb.

blurb

Blurb is a great site for printing your own books.

I’m sure there are hundreds of ways to collaborate with your kids and ignite more creativity in your life. So be sure to share your awesome ideas in the comments or tag me on Twitter or Instagram with a picture you’ve created and use #CreativeTipTues.

As always, have a creative day!

-Kate

Share