The Kindness Project began when I witnessed a small act of kindness make a big difference to someone. I was shopping in a store and a customer was upset that what he was buying did not fit into the sale of the day. His voice got louder and louder as he tried to convince the cashier to give him the discount. I was waiting behind him in line and could tell that he was not going to back down. I could see the cashier struggling to quiet him down. So, I reached into my backpack to grab my extra coupon. I offered it to the man saying that I know it isn’t the discount he was hoping for but it was a discount and perhaps that would make him feel better. His mood changed immediately as he was a little struck back by this act of kindness. At first he didn’t want to accept it but I assured him that I didn’t need it and was happy to offer it to him. He used the coupon, paid for his items and went on his way.
On the way home the story of Kindness Kangaroo began to develop in my head. I thought of a kangaroo that would have a pouch full of things to offer people in little acts of kindness. I started to ask what children felt kindness was so I could get a better idea with how the story could progress. I felt it was important to get ideas from children as to what they felt the emotion meant and when I was asked into a classroom to discuss kindness a new idea was created.
At first it was just the book Kindness Kangaroo but then ideas emerged for Empathy Elephant, Hopeful Hippo and Bravo Bear. Before we knew it a whole alphabet of emotional animals arose. My plan is to have a class sponsor each book. This means that I will visit different classrooms and discuss the emotion with the children to gather ideas for the book. Then, when the story is finished, it is sent to the class so the children can each offer a drawing to help illustrate the book.
All pictures will be included in the book as part of the story or as other ideas of that emotion and a copy of the book will be donated to the classroom. And so one small act of kindness has made a difference to the man in the store, the cashier and me as an author. And now, it will also make a difference in the lives of children that help inspire the books but also will read the books later.
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Aesop