My Personal Kindness Summit: 30 Day Challenge

One of the hardest lessons parents have to teach their kids is that the world is not always a very kind place. And to be honest, it’s a pretty awful lesson to have to teach. I mean, why isn’t the world a kind place? Why do we transform from happy go lucky kids to crabby adults? How can we nip this transition in the bud? Or better yet, how can we teach kindness?

I was lucky enough to be invited to a panel hosted by Staples and the Born This Way Foundation, an organization committed to empowering youth to create a kinder, braver world. The Kindness Summit featured panelists who spoke about the findings of a research study that focused on how kind students felt their schools were, as well as what can be done in order to improve kindness in schools.

I got Kindergarten transition tips from Lady Gaga’s Mama, Cynthia Germanotta. One of the kindest women I’ve had the pleasure to meet.

Staples drove the Kindness Summit through philanthropic action, fully funding every Chicago Donor’s Choose project under $2,000 and supporting the creative and talented students behind the Young Writer’s Project. As a teacher, I know first hand how essential it is that kids have the physical things that they need so that they can feel safe and concentrate on learning and thriving. Through their generous donation, Staples ensured that thousands of Chicago students will have a successful school year.

 

The panel brought together by Staples and the Born This Way Foundation acknowledged that tangible school supplies were just the start in creating a kind environment that encourages students to grow and learn. Cynthia Germanotta, Lady Gaga’s mother, led a discussion on how to drive change within our schools and communities. My biggest takeaway from the lively discussion was to recognize that young people are VITAL to creating a kinder and braver world. We need to start seeing them as leaders and provide them with mental wellness support in order to truly make a difference.

What does that support look like? The research study pointed out that teachers simply making eye contact and saying hello to students in the morning is a crucial first step. I was taken aback by this. What teachers are NOT welcoming their students into their classroom!?!? Other resources include modeling positive and kind behavior, reducing the “otherness” that tends to make kind environments dissolve, and awareness of the warning signs that a child is struggling with mental wellness (such as acting out, being withdrawn and quiet, grades slipping, acting out of the ordinary, etc.).

After two hours of discussion, all attendees took part in a project started by one of the panelists and the Chicago Channel Kindness Awards winner. We packed backpacks filled with toiletries and other resources for Chicago’s homeless youth. It was such a simple project that I knew would have a positive impact, so it got me thinking about different projects I can do with my children to spread kindness.

 

So my boys and I decided that we are challenging ourselves to spread kindness over a 30 day Kindness Challenge. Half of the activities are for them, and the other half are for me. Because honestly, I feel like the Mommy Wars and catty Mommy Facebook groups are bringing out the worst in moms instead of the best. Want to join in on our Kindness Challenge? We are starting September 1st and will be documenting our journey on Instagram stories and Twitter using the #QueeniesKindnessChallenge hashtag. Hope you follow along!

 

FOR KIDS

*Hold the door open for someone.

*Make eye contact with someone and give him or her a huge smile.

*Say please and thank you—and MEAN IT.

*Make something with a friend.

*Donate a toy to someone in need.

*Share a toy with a kid at the park.

*Give someone a high five.

*Give someone a compliment that you truly mean.

*Invite someone to play with you.

*Make a picture for someone.

*Introduce yourself to a new friend.

*Take turns without whining.

*Cheer someone on when he/she faces a challenge.

*Read a book with someone.

*Give help to someone who needs it.

 

FOR MOMS

*Compliment a mom about her children.

*Send a friend a card or note in the mail. NOT AN EMAIL.

*Make eye contact and smile at a stranger.

*Include instead of exclude people when planning a moms’ night out.

*Set up a date night with your partner.

*Invite a social media friend to meet up in real life.

*Spend time with your kids without your phone.

*Make your kid’s favorite treat…for no reason at all.

*Listen and don’t just give advice when someone is telling you about a problem.

*Only say kind things on the Internet.

*Treat someone to a coffee, tea….or even a cocktail.

*Call a friend on the phone instead of texting.

*The next time you see a parent dealing with a misbehaving kid, give whatever support you can provide.

*Teach someone how to make your favorite recipe.

*Introduce yourself to the other mom at the park.

 

It takes courage to be kind. Head over to the online Staples for Students Kindness Tree to share your own positive message and grow the virtual tree.

 

How will you spread kindness today?

Have a kind day!
Amanda
Don’t miss a post…follow me on Blog Lovin’.

 

Comments

  1. Alli Smith says

    This sounds like a great summit! I always try to treat people with kindness and live by the golden rule. It’s crucial for adults to show kids how to be kind, not just with words, but with actions.

  2. Jeanette says

    In this day and time this is something that we need to do. There’s so much hate right now in this world that we need a reminder that there is kindness out there. I hope this catches on like wildfire.

  3. candy says

    Nice they have summits like this but kindness seems to be something lacking in this world. Along with many other things unfortunately.

    • Amanda says

      Well, that was the whole point of the panel. To discuss ways to make schools kinder and overall positively affect society.

  4. Tomi C says

    What a great takeaway from your summit. It doesn’t take much to do something kind but the feeling it gives really makes a difference in you as the giver and also for the receiver. Here’s to a successful challenge for you and the others.

  5. Jennifer says

    What a wonderful message they are passing on to the younger generation. We definitely need to bring back the old-fashioned values of common courtesy and treating each other as we would want to be treated. I hope they continue the amazing work.

    • Amanda says

      And it is so easy to reach out and share a kind word. I don’t understand why it is such a struggle for our society.

  6. Lisa says

    It is interesting that just by saying hello and looking them in the eye, it starts the day off on such a high note. Such simple things to make everything better.

  7. Joline says

    This is awesome, especially with everything not-so-kind that’s been happening lately. The youth are integral in bringing about change. Hopefully their future will be a kinder world!

  8. Our Family World says

    This looks like an awesome campaign. I mean we do practice kindness every day but to take it up a notch would be nice. I am going to discuss this with my kids. We’re going to start a kindness revolution!

  9. Jaime Nicole says

    I have made a conscious effort to be more kind. I work in a stressful industry where it is easy to be critical, so it’s important for my stress levels and to be true to what I believe in.

  10. Pam says

    Love the 30 Day Challenge and the backpacks you packed! It is so important to try to be kind. I make a conscious effort.

  11. valmg @ Mom Knows It All says

    I was raised to be kind and I raised my kids to be kind. I was bullied and I have a child with special needs and can attest firsthand how mean children can be and lessons at home while not the answer to everything are a good start.

  12. Sandy N Vyjay says

    Kindness needs to be taught to the kids and at the same time they need to be made aware that they may not always get kindness in return in the world. But they still need to hang on to kindness and not swerve from the path of truth.

  13. Eloise says

    love this 30 day challenge! I try to follow the list on a daily basis! That’s what life’s about, spreading kindness and help to others around you! I’ll share this kids list with my munchkins ; )
    it’s always good to make a list of examples!

    • Amanda says

      I find it’s always easier to follow through on a goal if you have concrete examples. Hope my suggestions help to inspire you!

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