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Halloween is a holiday that’s fun for the whole family. Whether you’re taking your kids trick-or-treating or dressing up and enjoying the night yourself, Halloween is always a night full of good memories. This year, we encourage you to be kind and think of ways you can give back this Halloween.

Here are 6 ways you can make Halloween special for someone else in your community:

1.  Donate your old costumes:

Many of us have costumes from past years just lying around in storage. If you donate them, you’ll be giving someone else a chance to wear them and have a fantastic night. Check out this example of a church near Nashville, TN.

2.  Go reverse trick-or-treating:

Instead of knocking on doors and asking for candy, surprise your neighbors by giving THEM candy or a small treat. If you don’t know them, introduce yourself and thank them for being an amazing member of your community.

3.  Volunteer at a Halloween Trail or Pumpkin Patch:

Whether it’s a kid-friendly Halloween trail or a local pumpkin patch, these events often need as much help as they can get each year! Help fill up cups of apple cider or sign up to do face painting for kids. Even doing something little makes a big difference!

4.  Got too much candy? Donate it!

If you have leftover candy after Halloween, there are so many places you can donate it. Charities like Ronald McDonald House or Operation Gratitude will use this candy to give to families and those in the military. It’ll be such a special treat for them.

5. Participate in a local charity event:

Some charities offer walks and 5k races around Halloween to support a nonprofit. Get dressed up and help raise money and awareness for a cause that matters to you!

6. Pass out candy in your neighborhood:

This is one of the easiest (and obvious) things you can do, but do it with a smile! Turn your porch lights on, sit back, relax, and let the kids come to you. Seeing their excitement and their cute costumes when you answer the door and hand them candy is all the reward you’ll need! If you happen to get a kid that you think is a little too old, go ahead and give them the candy and remember when you were a pre-teen.

If you do your best to give back on Halloween, you’ll be helping make someone else’s night extra special. Even something as simple as passing out candy will help give kids in your community memories for a lifetime. We’re sure you have so many memories of your own Halloween traditions growing up. It’s always important to be kind to others and to pay it forward whenever you can. Now enjoy a fun-filled evening of treating someone else this Halloween!

And, Happy Halloween from Inspire Kindness!

 

The phrase “live your dash” comes from one of the most popular poems in the world – The Dash, by Linda Ellis.

It means to be mindful that we’re only on this earth a little while. It means to spend each day with passion and purpose…

and to inspire others by living a life of joy, compassion, and kindness.

Here’s the poem for you to read:

THE DASH

the poem by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning… to the end.

He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house… the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left that still can be rearranged.

To be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile… remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?

Now that you’ve read the poem, here’s what it means to Live Your Dash:

 

Be Slow to Anger

Anger can eat away at your ability to be joyful and kind. Life is too short – choose forgiveness and let it go. As William Ward says: “Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the handcuffs of hate.”

Say Thank You  

Those two little words hold incredible power. Think about how you feel when someone thanks you. You feel validated and appreciated. When you do the same for other people, you pass along that positive energy. It may be just what they needed at that moment.

Love People  

Our Dash moves with lightning speed. It seems like only yesterday the kids were just toddlers learning to walk, and now they’ve got children of their own! As they say, “the days are long, but the years are short.” Never miss an opportunity to show love and say, “I love you.”

Treat Others with Respect  

You have opportunities every day to spend your dash through simple acts of kindness and respect. This quote by George Washington Carver says it best:  “How far you go in your life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.”

Wear a Smile  

Our dash may be short, but it can be wide. Often a simple smile will break through tension and stress. A smile will not only affect those around you, but it will change your attitude and outlook on life. Try it right now – just smile!

Remember, Life is Short

Make every moment matter. It’s been said that “we don’t remember days; we remember moments.” Being present and in the moment provides some of life’s greatest joys — A crackling fire on a cold winter night, reading a love note from your spouse, watching a beautiful sunset, or having coffee with a friend. It’s moments like these that make life worth living.

Think about your life.

What are some moments you cherish and hold most dear? Who are the people in your life that you need to say “thank you” to? Is there someone in your life who could use some love and attention…a smile or a hug?

Examine your heart and think about what is true and real. Now is the time to rearrange the things that need to be changed. As Suzanne Chapin says, “All that is worth cherishing in this world begins in the heart, not in the head.”

Live your Dash Well. Learn more about The Dash at thedashpoem.com

The Dash Poem and the words “Live Your Dash” are the copyrights and trademarks of Southwestern Inspire Kindness, Inc.  © 1996-2019 Southwestern Inspire Kindness, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 

 

Summer and reading just seem to go together, you know … like peanut butter and jelly. We know there are book club books and school summer reading and fun beach reading, but we also encourage you to pick up a book that helps you learn to be a better person. Here are our recommendations: 

For Preschoolers

Kindness Starts With You

by Jacquelyn Stagg

Description: Follow Maddy through her day at school, where your child will learn how easy it can be to spread kindness! 

What We Love: Good one for teaching the golden rule; almost every page ends with “This is what I would want someone to do for me.” 

Great for: Giving kids ideas for how to be kind

“Being kind is the best way to stand out.”

Calm-Down Time 

by Elizabeth Verdick

Description: This gentle, reassuring book offers toddlers simple tools to release strong feelings, express them, and calm themselves down.

What We Love: Kids get sad and mad, and they need to learn that it’s ok to take a break. This book gives examples of what that can look like. 

Great for: Teaching kids to love themselves

“1.2.3. I’m taking care of me.” 

The Pout-Pout Fish

by Deborah Diesen

Description: Swim along with the pout-pout fish as he discovers that being glum and spreading “dreary wearies” isn’t really his destiny. 

What We Love: This book is a memory-making read full of fun lines that kids and parents will remember for years to comes. 

Great for: Helping kids realize that all of us get the “dreary wearies” sometimes, but we work to cheer each other up. 

“Blub. Bluub. Bluuuuuub.”

For Elementary Kids

 

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon

by Patty Lovell

Description: Molly Lou Melon is a little different, but this doesn’t slow her down.

What We Love: Molly’s grandma has wise words for all us, and these illustrations are adorable.   

Great for: Teaching kids about self-esteem and talking about bullies

“Walk as proudly as you can, and the world will look up to you.” 

Kindness Gets A Thumbs Up!

by Brenda Li

Description: Join Dot as he goes about his day and shows kindness to all sorts of people. 

What We Love: This book uses thumbs up and thumbs down emojis to describe their circumstances, and children can watch the emoji turn as Dot shows kindness. It quickly indicates the power of kindness!  

Great for: teaching kids how to recognize emotions in other people  

“Wow! Being kind is so easy!”

Bad Seed

by Jory John and Pete Oswald

Description: This is a book about a bad seed. A baaaaaaaaaad seed. How bad? Do you really want to know? He has a bad temper, bad manners, and a bad attitude. He’s been bad since he can remember! This seed cuts in line every time, stares at everybody, and never listens. But what happens when one mischievous little seed changes his mind about himself and decides that he wants to be—happy?

What We Love: Bad Seed gives beautiful illustrations that show examples of being “bad” and offers opportunities to talk about good and bad manners. Check out The Good Egg and The Cool Bean as well!    

Great for: Teaching kids that everyone makes mistakes, but you can keep trying

“But I’m trying. I’m taking it one day at a time.”

For Tweens and Teens

Wonder

by R.J. Palacio

Description: August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. 

What We Love: You’ll want to hug everyone in this book for one reason or another. 

Great for: Teaching empathy

“Kinder than is necessary. Because it’s not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed.”

The Success Principles for Teens: How To Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be

by Jack Canfield

Description: The Success Principles for Teens is a roadmap for every young person. It doesn’t matter if your goal is to become a better student or athlete, start a business, make millions of dollars, or simply find guidance and direction, the principles in this book always work if you work the principles.

What We Love: Memorable quotes from outstanding leaders in this outline of 23 of the most essential success strategies

Great for: Family or group discussions 

“Stop hanging with turkeys and soar with eagles.”

Don’t Let Your Emotions Run Your Life for Teens

by Sheri Van Dijk

Description: In this book, you’ll find new ways of managing your feelings so that you’ll be ready to handle anything life sends your way.

What We Love: It’s hard being a teen, but this book gives teenagers tips and techniques to manage mood swings and control outbursts. 

Great for: Helping teens define what emotions they are feeling

“If you’re living in the present…you only have to deal with what’s actually going on in that moment.”

For Adults 

ROI of Kindness

by Brian Biro and Mac Anderson

Description: As you dive into this empowering little book, you’ll soon discover that this simple secret, KINDNESS, can transform your brand, your customer loyalty, your success in attracting and retaining fantastic people, and your organization moving your team from fear to freedom, from failure to faith, from ego to we go, from good to GREAT!

What We Love: It’s ours!

Great for: Shaping business culture and leading teams

“Each and every one of us needs to become a Chief Kindness Officer.”

7 Habits of Highly Effective People

by Stephen R. Covey

Description: This book continues to be a best seller because it ignores trends and pop psychology and focuses on timeless principles of fairness, integrity, honesty, and human dignity. 

What We Love: It’s a classic that remains relevant. It is easy to understand and gives practical next steps. 

Great for: Career, marriage, parenting, life

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

The Last Lecture

by Randy Pausch

Description: A book based on the phenomenal lecture about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment.

What We Love: Beautiful love letter from a man to his family with life lessons for us all

Great for: Small group and team-building discussions 

“The key question to keep asking is, Are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all, you have.”

Happy summer, happy reading. Here’s to learning to be an even better person. Thanks for inspiring kindness

Other videos by Katy Kvalvik that may interest you:

 

Summertime is a wonderful time of year to have your family focus on kindness. Many families already have a summer activity bucket list or a premade, ready-to-go list of activities to do when kids complained of boredom, so we encourage you to add another checklist to your summer – a kindness checklist.

Here are our summer kindness checklists. We’ve divided them out by age group – preschool, kids, teens, and adults – so the entire family can participate.

Preschooler’s List of Nice Things to Do

– Say something nice to someone.

– Hold the door for someone.

– Make a new friend.

– Say you’re sorry.

– Donate clothes, toys, or books.

– Give a flower to someone.

– Paint Kindness Rocks.

– Share with someone.

– Let someone else go first.

– Write a thank-you note.

– Give someone a hug.

– Make a get well card for someone.

– Fill neighborhood sidewalks with chalk messages.

– Feed the birds.

– Smile!

 

Summer Kind Acts for Kids

– Hold the door for someone.

– Make someone else’s bed.

– Help make dinner.

– Donate clothes, toys, or books.

– Clean your room (without being asked).

– Paint Kindness Rocks.

– Fill neighborhood sidewalks with encouraging chalk messages.

– Return someone’s cart at the store.

– Say thank you to someone that helps you.

– Call a relative you haven’t spoken to lately.

– Introduce yourself to someone new.

– Clean up a mess that isn’t yours.

– Send a video message to a friend.

– Give a compliment.

– Smile!

 

Summer Kindness for Teens

– Walk a neighbor’s dog.

– Cook dinner for your family.

– Collect litter – be sure to wear gloves.

– Clean your room (without being asked).

– Create thank you care packages for community helpers.

– Return someone’s cart at the store.

– Call a relative you haven’t spoken to lately.

– Introduce yourself to someone new.

– Offer to help an elderly neighbor with yard work.

– Donate clothes or books.

– Leave positive notes on friends’ cards.

– Ask someone about their day.

– Give a compliment.

– Visit a nursing home.

– Smile!

 

Acts of Kindness for Adults

– Plant a tree.

– Collect litter – be sure to wear gloves.

– Create thank you care packages for community helpers.

– Pay for ice cream for the family behind you.

– Call a relative you haven’t spoken to lately.

– Introduce yourself to someone new.

– Offer to help an elderly neighbor with yard work.

– Donate clothes or books.

– Hang bird feeders. Try making your own!

– Take food to someone who is going through a hard time.

– Ask someone about their day.

– Give a compliment.

– Visit a nursing home.

– Donate to a charity.

– Smile!

 

Reflection Questions for Families:

If you are keeping kindness in your summer, be sure to talk about and celebrate your good deeds. Here are some family questions to ask around the dinner table:

  1. How do you think you made someone feel when you did the kind act?
  2. How did it make you feel?
  3. Does anyone else come to mind to which we should practice this act of kindness?
  4. What other acts of kindness come to mind that we could do?

Acts of kindness are sure to make your summer even more special. Watch to see how much joy your family brings to others. We’re betting you experience even more joy through spreading kindness. Thanks for helping to Inspire Kindness!

What is Memorial Day and why do we celebrate it?

While Memorial Day often signifies the unofficial start of summer, the day holds much more meaning than that. Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed the last Monday of May each year, that honors the men and women that died while serving in the United States military.

 

How can we show kindness and honor fallen heroes this Memorial Day?

While we can no longer be kind to someone that has passed away, we can be kind to their memory and their family members. Here are a few ways to extend kindness and empathy this Memorial Day:

 

10 Ways to Honor Our Fallen Heroes

1. Pause for a moment of silence at 3 PM your local time for the National Moment of Remembrance.

2. Show your patriotism by flying your American flag. The formal ritual is for the flag to hang at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day and then raised to the top for the rest of the day.

3. Visit a military cemetery or war memorial.

4. Watch the National Memorial Day Concert on PBS.

5. Wear a red poppy or place them in your home. According to history.com, this tradition originated from a World War 1 poem about a brigade surgeon who once saw the bright red flowers growing on a ravaged battlefield. A tradition developed to wear the flower to commemorate the sacrifice so many made while fighting for their country.

6. Tell a story or share a photo on social media about a friend or family member that made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

7. Call, text, or visit someone that has lost a soldier. Celebrate the memory of this hero.

8. Donate to a charity that supports military families. Here are some examples.

9. Go to a Memorial Day parade.

10. Be thankful for our fallen soldiers and extend your thoughts and prayers for their families.

 

Memorial Day is set aside as a day to remember the people that have lost their lives to secure and defend our freedom, but every day is a good day to be kind to our military, their families, and the memory of the soldiers we have lost.

home of the free because of the brave

We can easily look up the definition of kindness, but the meaning of kindness goes far beyond just that.

According to the dictionary…

Kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. 

But kindness means so much more … 

How the dictionary defines kindness and what it actually means are two different things. Kindness can mean different things to different people. The meaning is in how YOU choose to show it. Be it through empathy, acceptance, kind gestures, or thoughtfulness, the possibilities are entirely up to you. 

Kindness is more than being nice.

Kindness goes beyond merely being nice. Think about it—would you prefer people to describe you as being “kind” or “nice”? There can be a lack of sincerity in just being nice; there is often a perception of doing the minimum. Whereas, being kind is doing intentional, voluntary acts of kindness. Not only when it’s easy to be kind, but when it’s hard to be kind. 

Kindness is a movement. 

Has someone ever shown you a kindness and all you wanted to do after was pay it forward? That’s because kindness is a chain reaction. It’s a wave that keeps rolling, and all it needs is one person to start it. One small kind act can cause a ripple effect that impacts an entire community. If we are all focused on being kind, we are creating a movement of change. You know that famous “be the change you wish the see in the world” quote? That quote isn’t just about change, and it isn’t only about one person being able to change their world. It’s bigger. It’s about a movement that can be started from one person acting with intention. 

Kind is love; love is kind. 

Think about what love entails and what it means to love someone. Got it? Well, that’s kindness. It’s being selfless, caring, compassionate, and unconditionally thoughtful. Like love, it takes practice to understand and feel it. We share love with others through kind acts such as a smile, a nice word, an unexpected deed, or a planned surprise. When we offer these acts to others, we make people feel good; we pass along hope; we promote peace; we show the power of kindness. 

Kindness is grace.

We are humans, and therefore, we make mistakes. We can be kind in our response to ourselves and others when those mistakes occur. This means thinking before speaking, forgiving before seeking revenge, and thinking about long-term relationships instead of short-term pride. If we could all remember that none of us are perfect, we would be a lot kinder to each other. Offer grace, be kind. 

Tips for Teaching Kindness

Now that we know what kindness is, how can we encourage more of it? Here are a few ideas to remember kindness in your life and inspire others as well. 

Be kind to yourself.

It’s in our nature to learn by watching others, which is why it is so important to be kind to yourself and show kindness to those around you. People, and kids especially, can learn kindness just by seeing what you do! 

Practice, practice, practice. 

One of the best ways to teach kindness to others is by being intentional about it! Volunteer, give compliments, donate to charity, hold the door for someone; there are so many ways to be an example of kindness. What better way to teach kindness than to show it?

Say thank you.

People are continually learning right and wrong through associative learning. When you see someone being kind or notice it from a family member or friend, make sure to tell them you appreciate what they did. Positive reinforcement helps people want to do more good deeds and reminds people to act with intention. 

What are some other words for kindness? 

For reference, when you think of these words, think of kindness. They are just synonyms for this powerful word: 

 Now, be kind and change the world!

          •  Benevolence
          • Care
          • Compassion
          • Concern
          • Courtesy
          • Friendliness
          • Gentleness
          • Goodness
          • Goodwill
          • Grace
          • Gracious
          • Heart
        •  
        • Hospitality
        • Loving
        • Neighborly
        • Patience
        • Philanthropic
        • Sweetness
        • Sympathy
        • Tenderness
        • Thoughtfulness
        • Tolerance
        • Understanding
        • Unselfishness

You may also be interested in: How to say “Be Kind” in Multiple Languages