Noticing the small stuff

Kindness is something that happens more often than we realize or notice.  It’s just that most of the time when it happens, they are small acts-  simple and spontaneous gestures.  While these gestures may make our lives a bit better in the moment or even make us smile, most of us don’t deliberately spend energy thinking about them beyond that brief moment.  Recently though I tried to be mindful of the simple acts of kindness I experience in my life and was pleasantly surprised to find that my list was a lot longer that I had expected.  Here’s just a few examples from my list…and interestingly most of the kind acts are from complete strangers: Read more

Empowering our littles to be kind to themselves

This week I had the privilege of seeing Orly Wahba speak at a Kindness Assembly at a local elementary school, and then again during her evening “Kindness Boomerang” book signing event for community members.  Wahba is a passionate “kindness activist” who founded a nonprofit called Life Vest Inside that is focused on empowering and inspiring kindness around the world.  Her key message is that we all can and should feel empowered to make a positive difference in the world.  She says that our small acts of kindness, especially the random organic ones can have a powerful ripple effect on the world because kindness is contagious.  With each act of kindness we do, we can energize and inspire others to do the same thing.  While Wahba is a kindness activist, she says her organization is about empowerment. It starts with kindness to ourselves.  We must all realize that we have a life vest inside of us to help ourselves and believe we can do good and reach our highest potential.  Once we do, then we can touch others with kindness to find their own life vests.  And if each of us believe we have a role in this world to do good things- no matter how small- then only good things will come and positivity will spread. Read more

Family Donation Box

This may have been one of those Kindness Projects that my family will remember and use for quite some time.  I recently attended the parent-ed conference hosted by the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, and saw one of my favorite authors, Michelle Borba, speak. Her book Unselfie, which I have cited in past blog posts, provides nine strategies that provide kids with what she calls an “empathy advantage.”  Borba’s talk was incredibly inspirational and she shared anecdotes and stories of kindness from around the world- from kids shaving their heads to show support for their friend with cancer to a young girl standing up with moral courage to help a victim of bullying.  Borba also shared practical tips of how we can engage in compassion activities at home, which is also plentiful in her book.  During her talk, she provided several ideas on this topic and one of them was the idea of a Family Donation Box.  Read more

Nothing like a stomach bug to teach you about kindness

Last week our family got hit with the stomach bug, and we all went down like dominoes- first me, then my husband, then our older daughter and even my poor mother who was in town visiting.  Somehow my younger daughter and father were spared our misery, but it was not a fun week for the rest of us…or for our washer and dryer for that matter.   I especially had impeccable timing with my illness as I got sick on my husband’s birthday.  I had originally planned an entire itinerary to celebrate his special day.  The girls and I were going to make him breakfast.  We booked him a massage, and afterwards we were going to go on a family hike and picnic. And to top it all off, he and I were going to go on a dinner date together.   It all sounded like an awesome plan, until I got really sick and couldn’t get out of bed and we had to cancel everything. Read more

A Big Valentine’s Thank You to our Local Firefighters

Gratitude was the theme of this weekend’s Mindful Littles community service event.  Yesterday we got together with several families from our community to give a big Valentine’s Thank You gift to our local Moraga-Orinda Fire Department (MOFD) to thank them for their service.

During our event we heard from two local firefighters, got to tour a fire engine and learn about the different equipment they use.  In addition to explaining the types of calls they get and some fire safety tips, the firemen also explained to the kids how they deal with their own fears when fighting fires by relying on their training and camaraderie. Read more

Gratitude Sharing Circle

There are countless benefits to having a disciplined gratitude practice- a few of which I have referenced in this blog post before.  Gratitude can also have positive effects on group dynamics and social settings.  As this article from Fast Company cites for instance, teams who express gratitude together show more reciprocity and are more sensitive toward one another.  So for this week’s kindness project, we did a Gratitude Sharing Circle.  This is a very simple activity, where we joined together as a family to first write about and then share our appreciation for one another.  I got the inspiration from this classroom activity listed in this article here. Read more

A Sunshine Surprise for Someone Who is Sad

Last weekend I learned about a friend who was very upset because she had to put her cat down.  Her cat had been her companion for several years, and the cat’s passing was extremely hard for her. She said that it felt like she had lost a close family member.  I thought that perhaps my girls and I could do something to cheer my friend up and found the idea for a sunshine box on Pinterest, where you put together a bright and cheery care package for someone who may need a little love.  This activity became the focus of this week’s kindness project. Read more