**This is a post to promote my client T.A. Barron’s Summer Sparks Campaign.**
My kids constantly surprise me with their ability to be kind.
As a parent, of course it has always been my goal to teach them to live their lives in this way –to not judge others by their outsides, but by the content of their characters, to consider the feelings of others before they speak or act, to help those in need whenever possible, to be charitable, open minded, accepting, and kind.
That is what I’ve always hoped my parenting and their personalities would lead to.
But, you know, like with everything in parenting, there’s doubt and you always wonder if you’ve done the right things –chosen the correct words, reminded them enough, lived well as an example.
And then, out of nowhere, they do something that makes your heart swell with pride and your eyes fill with tears and leaves you saying awwwww?!
HOW is this beautiful, kind little human mine?
And also, how is he the same person who farted on his brother’s back this morning?!
It is a wonderful and curious thing and it makes you feel like you are totally killing the parenting game.
Let me give you an example.
Dude 3 started a new school this year.
He doesn’t deal with change well (thanks for that one, OCD), and it was a hard transition coupled with a stressful move to a new home. He had an amazing teacher at his new school, but even today he largely still misses his old one and tells me at least once a week that he would do anything to be back there, surrounded by his old friends, and the wonderful people who helped make him fall in love with learning.
He is fortunate to have made a few good friends though and there is one in particular that he is so very grateful for.
Right before school got out for the summer, he called me into his room and he said, “Mom, I miss my old school and friends every single day still. It is so hard being here. I wish we didn’t move to this dumb house or change to this dumb school.”
And then, he burst into tears.
This show of emotion worried me.
Even he is able to adapt to new experiences in 9 months, unless something is wrong.
Naturally I launched into full mom panic mode.
Oh my gosh, what happened! Is something wrong?!
TELL ME WHO HURT YOU!
But, before I got too far along in my panic, he sucked up his sniffles and let me know that it wasn’t him, it was his friend.
He told me that the kids at school aren’t always nice to him –that they tease him and say mean things behind his back and to his face. He said it breaks his heart because his friend is a great person. He’s smart and funny and nice and he helped him so much when he first came to the school.
He said he sticks up for him when he hears them doing, but he can see it in his face that the things they say hurt him, and seeing his friend hurt like that hurts him too.
Naturally I joined him for a cry as he told me about how his friend shared with him that he is so happy we moved so that he could come to his school, because last year was so sad and lonely without him.
And then he said the most amazing thing: he said that he misses his old school and friends so, so much, but he knows he needed to come here to be friends with his friend. He said, “He needs me more than I need HIS PREVIOUS SCHOOL’S NAME.”
So. Freaking. Kind.
So. Freaking. Brave.
And selfless, and caring, and mature, and a bunch of words that mean he is some kind of unicorn with his magical magic.
When you break it down though, he’s not really doing anything extraordinary. All he’s doing is being a friend.
He’s not getting into playground dance battles over it or anything.
He’s just being a friend –going to school every day, saying good morning, joking with him in line, sitting by him at lunch, playing with him at recess. Friend stuff.
It’s simple, easy, kind.
But that’s the thing about kindness. It doesn’t have to be grand to be meaningful.
Simple gestures turn into precious moments that mean something to the recipient.
And, it can be contagious.
When someone is kind to you, you’re inspired, encouraged, motivated to turn your kindness to someone else, so you can make someone else feel as good as you got to feel.
That’s what author T.A. Barron was hoping for when he began his Spark Goodness campaign last year.
He wanted to encourage people to ignite kindness in their communities by doing small acts of good themselves. He hoped that these sparks would catch fire and spread joy across the world.
And, it’s working!
Hundreds of people have submitted sparks to him, showing the kind things they’ve done for someone else.
This summer, he created the Summer Sparks Program to encourage families to get involved.
It’s a great way to spend a portion of each day unplugged and together. It’s an even better way to show your children the power of kindness and how easy it is to change the world –or at least a little piece of it for someone near you.
Need help getting started?
Teaching Kids Kindness: 50 Ways to Spark Goodness This Summer
You can also keep track of what you’ve done with the Sparks Tracker (below) and then submit them to T.A. Barron on his site. Nothing is better than the reward of knowing you did something good, but if you enter you might even win a fun prize from T.A. Barron himself (he gives away an amazing monthly prize to reward entrants for sharing their good deeds with him!).
Want to learn more about the Summer Sparks campaign and how you can inspire kindness in your children? Pop over to the Summer Sparks page to learn more.