I’m proud to be a member of the Yahoo! Mother Board of blogging women with children. And during the holiday season, we were offered a pretty goodwill-tastic opportunity: participate in Ripples of Kindness. Ripples of Kindness is the concept that good works to brighten others’ days will create a ripple effect, and inspire others to do the same. So far over 41,000 kindness updates and good works have been posted!
Some people have been doing totally random acts of kindness around town like paying people’s parking meters, bringing goods to homeless people in need on the street, giving Starbucks gift cards to fellow parents who look like they could really use a cup. Others are organizing dinners for friends who are sick and volunteering with organizations in their community.
As one of the Motherboard’s “kindness ambassadors”, I was given $100 to begin some ripples. With that kind of cash, that makes for a lot of parking meters to help fill, a lot of toll road coins. And you guys know I’m sorta into local activities for kids.
One day while pondering what to do, I headed to volunteer at my child’s school during lunchtime. I arrived early to hear Charlie’s beloved first grade teacher Ms. Hirsch reading from a Junie B. Jones book to the class. All 21 children were totally enthralled. Every so often the teacher would stop and ask the class, “Why do you think Junie B. felt that way?” or “What do you think is going to happen next?” and almost all the hands would shoot up.
That night Charlie told me that a lot of the kids were really into chapter books since Ms. Hirsch introduced them to Junie B. He rattled off friends’ favorites. And that night while reading his own book in the series before bed, I heard him cackling aloud. Peeking in on my almost six year old reading in bed, with his gooseneck lamp trained on his paperback as he eagerly turned the pages all by himself was one of the best sights of my life.
And so I’m using the $100 towards donating tickets for Charlie’s fellow students, teachers and parent chaperones to go see the production of Junie B. Jones Jingle Bells, Batman Smells at Imagination Stage in Bethesda for a field trip. And although the class has already experienced a big field trip earlier this semester, the school is following the ripple of kindness and donating the school bus rental! I know that the ticket for my own child, OK, that’s not such a big benevolent move on my part, but I hope the other students love this experience of theater and literature. I hope the teachers and parent chaperones have a great time being introduced to this incredible local theatre for families. I hope the students just enjoy the holiday excitement and specialness of a field trip.
Actually, this small act is a result of another ripple effect: my own mom is a public school teacher in California, and every year my grandfather, a retired farmer, personally donates the funds for classes at my mother’s school to take field trips to learn about agriculture.
And it’s a ripple effect from Ms. Hirsch herself — an amazing, inspiring teacher who is lighting the fires for a lifetime love of reading in her students.
And I know that you all out there with children in school and homeschooling and playgroups do actions like this all the time. I hear of you co-oping at your children’s preschools. Volunteering at their schools regularly. Chaperoning field trips. Organizing outings. Popping into the classrooms to lead the children in seasonal crafts. Baking peanut-free cupcakes at 1am the night before a class party. Offering up your own personal skills and talents to brighten kids lives.
So really, I’m inspired by you.
I’ll let you all know about the production of Junie B. Jones Jingle Bells, Batman Smells! at Imagination Stage in Bethesda after I see it with the class (I’m attending as a chaperone.) I can’t wait! And you can see it too! There are still times available for schools to see the special field trip productions (with reduced-price tickets of $5), as well as lots of regular performances until January 9th! Ticket info here.
Official Show Description: Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells! from the Imagination Stage
It’s holiday time in Room One and that means drama! Tattletale May keeps picking on Junie B., and things get even worse when Junie B. draws May’s name for Secret Santa. She hatches a plan to give May a lump of coal, while getting an awesome Squeeze-A-Burp for herself. Will Junie B. have a last-minute change of heart and show her true holiday spirit? Just like its heroine, the show has laughs, verve and energy to spare! Enjoyed by ages 4+
By Allison Gregory
Adapted from the Junie B. Jones Series of books by Barbara Park
Directed by Kathryn Chase Bryer
Disclosure: I received $100 from Yahoo! as a member of the Yahoo! Mother Board to use to participate in Ripples of Kindness. How I chose to participate and what portion of the funds used for the project were left completely up to me. I received no further monetary incentive to use those funds towards the Imagination Stage field trip — I just sincerely adore this great example of family theater and highly recommend all of their productions to you all!