By Jodi Carmichael
You met daughters, Emma and Sarah, in the Young Writer of the Month post and today, my best friend’s daughters, Lauren and Brynne, bounced off the cottage walls when I asked if they wanted to talk about kindness. Our rambunctious girls have been friends from birth and have a relationship closer in nature to cousins than merely friends. We’ve gone so far as to blend our last names into one that better fits our close bond. We now refer to our families as, The Hartmichaels. We’ve done numerous Hartmichael family vacations, beach days, movie nights, and berry-picking excursions.
To get the girls into the “kindness” frame of mind, I asked some pointed questions. Their hands shot high in the air, hardly able to wait their turn to answer, as I asked the first question.
Question: Can you tell me the kindest thing you’ve done for your sister?
Lauren (age 10): I made Brynne a carnival throughout my whole house to cheer her up. I even taught her how to walk on her hands and eat green sugar out of a tube.
Brynne (age 8): Almost every morning, I get Lauren her peanut allergy bracelet before school - without being asked.
Sarah (age 8): When it’s my birthday I always buy Emma an un-birthday present. This year I ordered her a doll outfit from American Girl. It’s sort of a surprise, except she picked it out.
Emma, (age 11): I brush the knots out of Sarah’s hair in the morning and there are a lot of knots.
Question: What is the kindest thing you’ve done for a friend?
Brynne: There’s a new girl at school, who came from Korea and I showed her where the bins are for our math folders and I taught her how to play hopscotch at recess.
Sarah: When a girl at school called my friend bad names, I told her that wasn’t nice. I hugged my friend to make her feel better.
Emma: When my friend fractured her back, I carried her backpack home and helped her around the school.
Lauren: When Sarah fell and scraped her knee, twice, at the Calgary Zoo, I gave her my bird food so she could feed the geese.
Question: What is the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you? And how did that make you feel?
Sarah: When I fell off a play structure and hurt my arm, my mom took me for ice-cream. It made me feel super.
Emma: When my mom surprised me and took me on a girls’ trip to Minneapolis with one of my best friends. I felt special and excited to be away with just my mom. We’d never done that before.
Lauren: Every time my friend and I play checkers she almost always wins, but she always encourages me. It makes me feel special and that she doesn’t care about winning. She just wants to have fun with me.
Brynne: My friend taught me how to skip backwards. That made me feel very happy, because I really wanted to know how.
Question: What are some ways you are kind to your parents? With this question, the girls shouted out answers and at first they went for grandiose expressions of kindness, but soon thought of small, everyday acts, that are easy for anyone to do.
- Buy them presents
- Make them breakfast in bed
- Make them Mother’s Day and Father’s Day Cards
- Wash the dishes
- Clear the plates
- Clean up their clothes
It was wonderful watching the girls consider how their kind acts have huge impacts on others and over the next few days, we found ourselves thanking each other for their kind words and deeds. Most importantly it made us more considerate of each other’s feelings.
I came away profoundly aware of how small acts of kindness can make our children feel special, noticed, and worthy of recognition, and really isn’t that we’re all looking for – to matter to others?
Readers, there is still time to enter the Kind Karma Giveaway. The winner will be announced this week!