Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Communicating Beyond Words: 30 Days of Action


I'm coming to the realization that whether you're raising children, mentoring youth, or trying to affect your world or community in positive way- there will undoubtedly be challenges. My heart weighs heavy as I'm typing this in the aftermath of the Baltimore Riots. After watching video clips with the latest on the earthquake that dismantled Nepal. I actually sat on my couch and wept. I can't be the only one. Statistics show me that despite being bombarded with bad news, tragedy, and negative reports that the world is in the midst of a decades-long trend of actually becoming better: safer and healthier and more humane. I truly want to believe that, and with everything else I know our greatest contribution starts at home.

Back to this image of me, sweatshirt clad sobbing on my couch. I quickly swipe away the tear drops as they fall because I'm worried that my children will see- and wonder why I'm so upset. Then I realized, I needed them to see this. This isn't a sign of weakness. I began thinking about ways to help give them an understanding of how to better understand the needs of people around us. How can I reinforce support, compassion, generosity and nurture empathy? Communicating goes beyond the words you say (or type, or text) it's bigger than donating or supporting a cause online. And then here I am again- talking about getting out into our own communities. Put down the phone, the ipad, and any other Stark Industries technology you might own. 

I'm going to be challenge you to a Generosity Drive next month, 30 days- 30 acts of kindness. You don't need money. You don't need a ton of time. In fact you don't even need to give it another thought. Here are 30+ ways you can take action with your families in the month of May.

Day 1: Send snail mail, you know the kind that shows up in a real life mail box? You can even print out this gorgeous matching stationary for free!

Day 2: Strike up a fancy conversation with somebody, simply asking: “What was the BEST part of your day?”

Day 3: Volunteer, anywhere. Mentor an aspiring entrepreneur, coach a youth sports team, read, tutor, or hey! here are 5 ways you can volunteer right now

Day 4: Find a Little Free Library near you and donate a book. Can’t find one? Start one.

Day 5:  Do not let difference make a difference.

Day 6: Spring clean out your closet and donate some treasures to Dress For Success — or its equivalent, in your country. Making space & spreading empowering another woman to achieve her dreams at the same time!

Day 7: Love yourself first. Practice progress, not perfection

Day 8: Tip generously. Not sure how much? This is how much. Except double it.

Day 9: Buy a cup of lemonade from the kids with a lemonade stand. Instead- buy two and tell them to keep the change.

Day 10: Give out free hugs.

Day 11: Say Thank You to someone who has impacted your life- a teacher, a parent, anyone! Fill in the blanks “You’ve given me so many gifts. Like the ability to _______________, and the confidence to _______________. Thank you.”

Day 12: Adopt a soldier and show them some love by sending a little note, donating needed items, or hosting an event for a veteran. Or simply say, Thank you.

Day 13: Wave to someone on a school bus, on a boat, from your window, whenever you see an opportunity. Don't forget to smile :)

Day 14:  Send a story tip to a local reporter. (Especially if it’s good news.)
  
Day 15: Spread joy by blowing up a bunch of balloons and randomly hand them out to children at a beach, park or ball game. Watch their faces light up with surprise and gratitude!

Day 16: Nominate a talented friend for an award. Like The Bloggies. Or The Webbies. Or The Stevies. Or … perhaps one of these.

Day 17:  Offer to babysit for a friend so she & her hubby can have a date night.

Day 18: Put a gift, like flowers you just picked, in a bike basket you see parked around in your neighborhood.

Day 19: Compliment 5 people you don't know today. To get started, 15 of the best compliments you can give.

Day 20: Give the world the gift of your undivided, non-digital attention. Listen, closely.

Day 21: Create necessity packs and give them to the homeless. You’d be surprised how many things a homeless person learns to go without, and making simple packs full of life’s necessities is a great gesture. Drop them off at your local homeless shelter so they can do the distributing.

Day 22: Give someone a grrrrreat massage. Here’s how.

Day 23: Buy an Amazon gift for a total stranger. (Search wishlists, here.)

Day 24:  Provide roadside assistance. Not everyone is a AAA member, and if you notice someone that is having car trouble on the side of the road, pull over and see if they’re OK.

Day 25: Hold the door for a stranger.

Day 26: Drop off stuffed animals to a local childrens hospital or participate in a Soft Toy Drive like the one just hosted by Sew Mama Sew 

Day 27: Tape change to a vending machine in a hospital waiting room

Day 28:  Vote.

Day 29: Visit www.SERVEnet.org to find volunteer opportunities in your area.

Day 30: Ask someone how you can help them. 

I know, there are heavy issues facing us today and you may not believe that paying it forward with a cup of coffee is going to effectively change the world- but kindness, compassion, love and empathy trump out cruelty and that's a good place to start. Do you feel like our younger generations are lacking empathy, compassion, and communication skills? How do you instill these values in your own families, classrooms, and communities? Leave a comment and let's expand this conversation below-

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