I loathe the heat. I’ve never been a sun chaser or a sit by the pool gal (sloppy pool backflips in adolescents- maybe). I do love that northern California offers all four seasons, but summer is my least favorite season. My dislike for the heat as gotten worse since I became a mom (#hormones). My core temperature has not leveled since having my babies, so basically I am overheating when most people are raving about how good the weather is. In all honesty, anything over 75 degrees I began to sweat and my horns start to bulge out the top of my head. You can imagine how I feel when the sun is blazing in the middle of July. So, I decided to get creative with something that is my jam, acts of kindness. As a mom I like themes and I try to make big efforts to teach kindness whenever I can.
Kindness is contagious – Let’s hope everyone catches the bug!
Leading by a good example can shape a good human and my hope is that my boys and can do this every summer. A couple of years ago, my kids and I stuffed Easter eggs with stickers and hid them in the park. On one random day, someone (a recipient of the stickers) wrote us a thank you note in chalk on the sidewalk at the park. We were all giddy. I know my boys (five and three) will be much more aware of giving back as they grow and a simple thanks will feel good.
Dollar Tree – Easy-peasy shopping trip
Stay focused and grab some goodies for your “Stay Cool” project. I spent a whole nine dollars, even bought some double pack toys. We bought water guns, beach baskets, nerf football, various sized flip flops and sunglasses. When we came home, we made homemade notes that said, “Stay Cool” Act of Kindness Love L,F,P. My three-year old still didn’t quite understand we were LEAVING the toys for others to enjoy, but once we hid the toys at the park, he comprehended with the excitement from his older brother.
We drove to a few parks in the early morning to drop off our surprises. My boys wanted to wait to watch the park-goers find the surprise gifts, but I ensured them that this challenge was better to leave and have the recipient be surprised. This act is difficult to feel when you can’t see the reaction of the recipient (especially for littles), but I had something else up my sleeve.
Repurpose summer items into your summer kindness
I feel braver with kids. They act as ice breakers. People see their innocence and curiosity and give more attention when most stranger-to-stranger interactions wouldn’t go past a smile. So, for this portion of the Stay Cool Kindness Act, I had about six folding paper fans and we went walking through our downtown looking for people sitting at bus stops, working outside, etc. This is where my kids felt their acts of kindness really made people smile and thankful.
I Scream, YOU Scream, WE all scream for Ice Cream!
Summer evenings are for getting frozen yogurt, avoiding cooking to raise temperatures in your house, and grabbing the extra large Slurpee at 7-11. We went to Foster Freeze and ordered refreshing twist ice cream cones. There was a middle age couple about two groups behind us. We told the cashier if the couple is ordering something refreshing we would like to cover the cost. My family and l licked our treat and waited patiently. Sure enough, the couple ordered two ice cream cones and the young teenager delivered the good news. In a peppy voice, he told them, “Your cones were paid for by a stranger”. I think they were suspicious that it was us, given their smiles and winks. I hope they catch the summer “cold”.
H2O on standby
I bought a case of water and transported them to a portable ice chest and the kids and I went for a drive. We searched for Caltrans employees, City Workers, and construction workers that were out in the heat. Our bottled water(s) went to a tow truck driver and several people working on a house in our hometown. Kids, act as buffer for any awkward feeling that might arise between two strangers. This portion of the kindness act was my favorite because I was able to explain what me and my kids were doing. I was able to interact while my kids were able to deliver smiles and bottled water from their carseats.
My hope is that this ”Stay Cool” Kindness Act is contagious. Kindness is something that can truly change someone’s day, week, month, and even a long (hot) season. By making it a game it becomes memorable and easy to do with your kids. I encourage everyone to join a kindness act this summer and beyond the seasons.