Sometimes themes keep coming up again and again in my life like reruns on a syndicated television show. Eventually, they force me to recognize them with their gentle subliminal tugs on my conscience.
“Mommy, you know the best way to reduce stress?” my beyond-wise 10-year-old said to me from the backseat of the car the other day on the way to school.
“No, how?” I asked, genuinely curious as I glanced at her little blond head bobbing in the rear view mirror adorned with a glittery silver bow.
“By helping others,” she replied matter-of-factly. “It helps your heart.”
She heard this at school in the context of a conversation about a book they were reading called "Wonder," by R.J. Palacio, that documents the story of a boy with a facial deformity who is bullied by his peers. The author calls it a “meditation on kindness.”
In that vein, last week my daughter’s teacher held a special event where parents were invited to join their children for discussions and activities surrounding the book’s themes. As part of the event, we made “kindness wands.”
Affixed to each wand are instructions which encourage the holder to commit at least three acts of kindness and then pass the wand onto someone else to do the same. This made me think about intentional kindness. Sure, we would all like to think of ourselves as kind. We try to be kind. We want to be kind, but are we?
I’ve decided that I’m going to put the wand to good use. I’m going to look for opportunities - not just three, but every single day - to practice what it is asking me to do. I can’t make any promises, but I’m going to try to find at least one opportunity to be intentionally kind each day.
Who knows, I may even write about it. Wish me luck!
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including three on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.