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Teachers Kindness

A Teacher’s Kindness

My 7-year-old daughter has the kindest heart. She has always been the most empathetic and compassionate person I know. Even when she was a toddler, she would cry when she saw other kids upset or crying. She is usually the first person to befriend new students at school, reaching out to them with her bubbly personality and kindness. She truly has a beautiful heart.

Recently, a school friend has been treating her badly and my daughter’s teacher (Ms. R) has noticed this. My sweet child cannot understand why someone would tell lies about her or ask her to do something she knows is wrong. She is fearful of losing her friend by telling the truth, and it eats her up inside. Ms. R has taken the time to seek out my daughter and help guide her with discussions about friendship and integrity – often during recess, when she would normally be having a break. She is a wonderful example of how teachers can make a difference in kids’ lives.

I am so grateful for Ms. R’s kindness and hope she knows just how much she is appreciated.

Today’s story was submitted anonymously. If you have a story you would like to share with us, please head over to the Submit a Story page.

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A Valentine’s Day Drive

You don’t need to spend a lot of money to show people kindness (although you may need to spend it to keep your kids quiet while on a kindness delivery adventure).

This past Valentine’s Day I was lucky enough to be home with my two daughters. The first few hours we spent making hearts and eating chocolate were fun but grew old in about a couple of hours. Because the girls were too young for school, we also happened to have a pile of Valentine’s Day cards to give out. Instead of creating imaginary characters to give them to (although that does sound fun), we piled into the car and took a little adventure.

We passed through a Tim Horton’s drive through and handed the employees a Valentine’s Day card. We handed out a few in Future Shop and we handed out a few in Walmart. Finally, we handed a few more to the people at the McDonald’s drive through window too.

It was fun for the kids who ended up with donuts and cheeseburgers and it was nice for the people who got to hear Happy Valentine’s from two cute little blonde haired ladies. It was a good day to teach them the value of a small and that the cost of making someone happy is something we can afford to pay.

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Today’s story is from Mike Reynolds. If you have a story you would like to share with us, please head over to the Submit a Story page.

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Make It A Family Tradition To Help Other Families

I’ve always been a Christmas guy. Meaning, I’ve always been part of a family that put much stock in Christmas. I’ve also always been part of a family lucky enough to fill our table with a full Christmas dinner, a Christmas tree with overflowing presents underneath it and plenty of love to spread around. Since having kids, we’ve had the opportunity to continue those traditions.

In Ottawa there are many people celebrating whatever holiday it is they celebrate and many of those families have plenty of the love to go around but maybe not enough of the rest. Perhaps not surprisingly, it was our kids who pointed out to us that not only is that not right, but that it isn’t right for us to do nothing about it.

So this holiday season, I encourage everyone to do something to make another family’s holiday season a bit more comfortable. It doesn’t have to be anything monetary, it could be as simple as holding open a door for someone carrying gifts through a door. Trust me, being someone who goes through periods of up and down emotional stages, something as simple as a smile can change a person’s day.

If you would like to make a financial contribution, there are plenty of organizations out there to help local families celebrate with their loved ones. Many of these organizations are smaller ones that rely on the generous donations of families who can and would be thrilled to have your help.

My personal suggestion is to make this part of your own family tradition–start teaching your children from young age that it’s everyone’s responsibility to take care of everyone else. Let them help you hold the door, let them put some change in a collection jar or let them put a non-perishable food item in a collection bin. I promise you’ll all feel better and a family you might even know will be able to put something on their table this holiday season.

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This story is courtesy of Mike Reynolds from the blog Puzzling Posts. If you have a story you would like to share with us, please head over to the Submit a Story page.

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A Few Kind Words

It was a scene that I know is familiar to many moms out there…

Location: grocery store
#of children under the age of 5yrs: 3
Amount of whining/tantruming:  too much

As I left the grocery store with my 3 children in tow, each one of them audibly unhappy with some aspect of the outing. I myself was very unhappy with their collective behaviour and had noticed each and every look of irritation from the other customers. I felt like an absolute failure of a mom. You know that feeling when you realize just how tired you are and you can’t possibly do this for another 18 years? That’s how I felt when a lovely woman (angel really) smiled over at me from the next car and said, “It’s not easy is it?” That’s all she said. But it was enough. Enough to give me hope that I wasn’t the only one who felt overwhelmed and tired and not good enough. I’m sure that woman had no idea how much her words and kind smile meant to me at that moment but I will never forget that small act of kindness. And I will never hesitate to say those same words, to reach out and connect just for a second, to a frazzled looking mom.

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Serenity’s Kindness Kookies

I don’t think there are many people who have not been moved by the devastation of the typhoon in the Philippines, but one little girl in Kanata was inspired to take action.  This is the story of Serenity’s Kindness Kookies.

One Sunday morning before church, while dining in a restaurant with her parents, Serenity caught sight of news footage out of the Philippines.  She was full of questions and wanted to know why the people were so sad and what was happening.  Her parents explained that there had been a big storm and many people had lost their homes and needed help.

When they returned home from church, Sera ran up to her room where her mother found her packing up her toys and books.  When her mother asked her what she was doing, she said that she wanted to send them to the children she had seen on TV.  She had determined that since they lost their houses, they would not have toys to play with and she would be happy to share hers.  Deeply touched, Sera’s mom, Samantha, then explained that while this was such a kind gesture, there was no way to get the items to the children and what they really needed was money to buy food and build houses.  It was then decided that when payday came around, money would be sent to the Red Cross to help the people in the Philippines.   Seemingly satisfied with this, Sera settled down for a nap.

Later that day, Sera went running to her mom with both fists full of pennies from her piggy bank and asked that it be sent to buy them new houses.  She figured she had enough in those little hands of hers to buy some.  Mom explained that while that was very generous, and the money would be sent, that it takes a LOT of money to build houses.  It was then that Sera decided that she should bake cookies to send to make them feel better.  Again, the logistics of sending cookies were lost on her and so mom agreed that cookies would be baked but they would sell them and send the proceeds.  Serenity insisted that treats from her trick-or-treat bag be used and so a big batch of Smartie cookies were made.

A post on mom’s Facebook page explained to friends and daycare clients that cookies would be sold with donations going to the Red Cross. Sera set up a little table by the front door and decorated it with her play silks. A logo “Serenity’s Kindness Kookies” was created and she set to work wrapping the cookies in plastic wrap and taping on the logos.  (Mom tells me that two rolls of scotch tape were used on that batch!).  Friends and family stopped by that day to visit her cookie store and she eagerly stood behind her table in the front waiting for more “customers”. Former daycare kids brought pocketful’s of change to buy cookies and all of their Smarties from their trick-or-treat bags to contribute and make more cookies. Another 4 batches of cookies later and the next day, Serenity went with her father to work were she raised $200.00 and had requests for more cookies!

The response has been overwhelming.  Friends, colleagues and even some strangers contributed.  In the end she raised $600.00 and her father’s workplace matched donations bringing the total to $1200.00.  With the Government of Canada matching all donations – this sweet girl has raised $2400.00 through her kindness.

“Serenity’s Kindness Kookies” – Kindness Indeed!!

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Raising a Compassionate Child

One of my proudest parenting moments was when the Grade 1 teacher described my daughter’s compassionate behaviour when a classmate wet herself. While the other children stood around in horror, Clare had taken the disgraced child by the hand with a, “That happens to me too” (not the case) and led her to the washroom.

I’d like to claim that my five year old’s act of compassion was the result of the remarkable examples set by her mother but unfortunately I was often too stressed with kids and work to let my inner compassion shine through. It’s tough to consider others when wet laundry is rotting in the machine and your work pants are held together with tape. However, here are simple things to do in daily life with your child, and who knows where they may lead.

It’s NOT about money or even time
Donations, fundraisers and volunteering are important contributions to model to children once there is more time (and money) but you can sow important seeds of compassion without leaving home or giving money. What you do want to model is a compassionate attitude.

It IS about judgements
Try not to judge other people’s behaviour in front of your child. Maybe the mom that pushed by you wasn’t intentionally rude, maybe her rent cheque just bounced and her son needs glasses. If you do find yourself issuing judgements, discuss it later, “Remember how mommy complained about the smelly man on the bus? What I should have realized is that he probably doesn’t have a home.”

You never know what someone else is going through
It’s infuriating when Sophia comes to daycare yet again with lice. Can’t the mom get it under control? In this situation, it’s easy for a mom to criticize the negligent parent. Alternatively you could say, “I’m sure Sophia’s mom doesn’t want her to have lice, she must be ill or have bad things happening.”

Be sensitive to the less fortunate
When your child hosts a birthday party, makes the team or talks vacation at show ‘n tell, encourage him to be sensitive to the children who don’t have those benefits. “You know how you’d feel if Ethan got a cell phone? Well that maybe how some kids feel when they see your new bike.”

Practice regular random acts of kindness
You probably don’t have the money to buy coffee for the homeless or energy to garden for your neighbours, but next time there is a woman with a screaming baby behind you at the cash, encourage her to move ahead of you. Your child may express surprise and there’s your chance to explain the mother needed to get home more urgently than the two of you.

Talk about mental illness
Many children are confused by people who beg for money and frightened by those who create disruptions in public. When you teach your child to behave politely and with caution around these people, it’s also an opportunity to explain that mental illness can make people act in confusing ways. Greater knowledge is linked to more sympathetic attitudes. Stigma tends to emerge when children don’t understand mental health behaviour and have no other language to describe it. If your child can say “He has an illness that makes him do that” the world will be a better place.

Sow the seeds
My little Clare was a wise old soul in many ways but for years she freaked when she spied the developmentally disabled woman collecting carts at our supermarket. Despite coaxing from me, she couldn’t let go of that fear. However, now at university, she takes a similarly challenged woman for a weekly gym workout.

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Today’s story is from Lydia at TogetherMoms.ca. If you have a story you would like to share with us, please head over to the Submit a Story page.

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Lessons from Kindergarten

My middle boy started Junior Kindergarten last year and to say that his school career got off to a rough start, would be an understatement. He became riddled with anxiety and our morning routine became filled with tears and screams on a daily basis. Somewhere along the line though, we started to hear him talk about a girl named Stacie. We sighed with relief, finally he was making some connections with the other kids, he had made a friend! Read more