7 Daily Acts of Kindness: A Child's POV
Each time we go on vacation, our goal is to get some R&R and let go of our busy schedules at home. Instead of setting alarms, we just allow life to happen and enjoy every minute of the day.
This year we headed to the sunny and beautiful island of the Dominican Republic, where I pretended to be Spanish saying Hola, Gracias, and Ciao in my most latin accent. It's also a nice touch for my girls to embrace Spanish culture.
I wanted to reflect on something different and really practice the skill of kindness. One chapter in the book "You are a Badass" talks about giving one thing away, each day, for 29 days. Afterwards, you'll see a change in your attitude and feel a sense of joy and excitement. It's a real exchange between two human beings. It just feels different than when you donate money to a charity online. My version of the exercise was just for the week that we were on vacation.
We gave the pilot homemade cookies made by yours truly the hapa girls. The pilot seemed to be very touched, and she invited them to sit in the cockpit for a photo opp. Now I know what you're thinking, most pilots do this without the germy cookies, but the result was priceless. E responded,
"Mommy, I'm just so HAPPY."
We took our girls horseback riding for the first time. At breakfast, I asked them what our act of kindness would be for that day. The girls didn't seem that interested and really just wanted their sugary breakfast cereal. Fine, I won't harass them or be annoyed by their lack of enthusiasm. After we were done eating, my girls hit the buffet and came back with two shiny red apples. "Mommy, this will be our act of kindness for the horses. We will give them a nice delicious fruit as a snack." PERFECTO.
Side note: Not all horses like apples. These only ate grass and carrots. Whoops.
I'm that crazy mother who encourages her girls to make friends on vacation. I feel it's important to still feel part of the community, even in a different country. Making friends is like speed dating. You scope out the scene, see who might be your age and then go in for the kill, hoping you don't face rejection. E truly impressed me when she walked up to an older girl and asked if they could play together. She was delighted to have a friend for a day or two. Together they hunted for seashells and played zombies and deadmen. Later in the evening, my hapa girls wanted to buy her ice cream. It was a kind gesture and the best part; the new friend was upset she didn't get to buy them ice cream. This
kindness stuff is contagious.
I run a small business called Petit Elephant NYC. This year we are taking on a different approach and almost all the profits will go to charity. On this trip, we donated several bracelets to underprivileged children. Trying to make a change.
By the time we are ready to eat dinner on vacation, everyone is usually pooped from being out in the sun all day. Sometimes, when we aren't using electronics, we lug around coloring books and markers. The girls decided to use their masterpiece drawings as a small gesture of saying "thank you" to the hotel staff. Once we hand delivered it, the staff member immediately asked for a hug and said she will cherish it for many many years.
Tip: Adult coloring books have way better
pictures in them and look like real art.
We took a day trip to Catalina, and the girls were worried that they wouldn't think of an act of kindness, especially since they were distracted by the crystal clear blue water and sugary white sand. A gentleman with a sulky face, looking tired from the sun, escorted us and help us set up camp. While he was putting up an umbrella, we found a coconut man and purchased two. One was for the family to share and the second one was given to the hard-working gentleman. The girls ran over to him and said, "here you go." He didn't know what to think of it and politely said, "no it's okay." We insisted, and his body language quickly changed. He suddenly stood up tall, showed us his pearly white smile, and hugged my girls.
At the island, several vendors were trying to sell some souvenirs. Their selling tactic was to give away free small necklaces, in return hoping you'll go to their store and buy something. We were drawn to one guy because his approach was subtle and genuine. We walked into the store, and he said, "mi casa es su casa." He offered my hubby and I some Mama Juana shots and, lets just say, his acts of kindness worked wonders . We ended up buying many items and walked away with even more free things. I wasn't sure how this worked out for him, but at this moment I realize that if you send messages to the universe, the universe will give it back.
Final thoughts on 7 daily acts of kindness:
- Giving a small token to a stranger can bring much joy and happiness.
- When you send good vibes, the universe has a way of giving it back.
- My girls realized that they have everything and no longer need to search for more.
- My 5 year old truly understood the concept. When we arrived back to the states, she noticed that her distant cousin was the only one without a Christmas present. Without any bribing or hesitation, she gave one of her big presents away.
- My 8 year old wrote a letter to the tooth fairy, asking for any money she was to receive to be given to a charity instead.
Next time you're on vacation with your children, give this challenge a try. See how it makes you feel, how your children respond to others, and how others treat you back. It all comes back full circle when you choose kindness.
"Kindness is free, Sprinkle that stuff everywhere"