2017: A Year to Be Kind.

According to a poll by Kindness USA, only 25 percent of Americans believe we live in a kind society.  In another survey of 10,000 teens, 4 out of 5 said their parents are more interested in achievement and personal happiness than in caring for others.  There is definitely less kindness in public life.

With so much harshness, negativity, hatred and meanness that seems to populate discourse in our society, it was very encouraging to see a recent article about BEING KIND.  The article, by Paula Spencer Scott in PARADE MAGAZINE, lists ways we can change this discourse and make kindness a priority in our lives.

1.You can join PARADE and the RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS FOUNDATION in this year’s challenge: Write 52 Thank You Notes – one each week to a different person for a year.  Besides bringing kindness and joy to the recipient, this gratitude boosts happiness and well-being in the “doer” as well.  You can find a template for a simple thank you  note at: http://www.Parade.com/note.

2. Read Orly Wahba’s KINDNESS BOMERANG: HOW TO SAVE THE WORLD (AND YOURSELF) THROUGH 365 DAILY ACTS for simple suggestions on how to pass on kindness such as sharing a cup of tea with grandma and reminiscing about times shared.

3. TEACHERS can find downloadable lesson plans on teaching kindness at: http://www.randomactsofkindness.org

4. Looking for a way to acknowledge good deeds or inspire someone to “pay it forward”? Go to: http://www.Parade.com/cards    to print out free kindness cards to pass out to those who do good deeds.

Even the folks at SESAME STREET know the importance of kindness.  It needs to be taught and modeled. The new – 47th – season of the program will focus on modeling kind behaviors and explicitly labeling kindness when it happens.

If you need more of an incentive to practice kindness on a daily basis, here are some proven benefits:

Being kind feels good.  Not only do you and the other person get a lift, but so do witnesses.  Each person involved is then motivated to “Pass on the kindness”.

Kindness leads to a less isolated, more connected world.

Strong social-emotional skills in young people predict success later in life better than IQ scores.  It is also seen as a key to anti-bullying programs.  To learn more about these programs visit the Girls Scouts of the USA BE A FRIEND PROGRAM, Lady Gaga’s BORN THIS WAY FOUNDATION, and the KIND CAMPAIGN started by 2 graduates of Pepperdine University.

To see how cities across America are spreading kindness, visit: http://www.cityofkindness.org

Kindness is one condition worth spreading and sharing with the world. What acts of kindness will you do today, tomorrow and throughout the year?  I’ll be checking back here periodically with an update on my own “kindness project”.

 

Celebrate Random Acts of…Pancakes?!

This post will honor two events taking place this week: Today kicks off Random Acts of Kindness Week.  Why not do something special for someone?  Here’s a unique idea that combines kindness with another event: Pancake Week. Host an informal brunch sometime this week for friends, some lonely seniors, a neighbor you’d like to get to know better, or some kids who could use some TLC. Here is a healthy recipe for MULTIGRAIN PANCAKES that taste great with syrup, berries, or even ice cream. (see photo)

To get more inspiration  for performing acts of kindness, visit: http://www.randomactsofkindness.org

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MULTI-GRAIN PANCAKES

¼ c white flour,  ¼ c whole wheat flour,      ¼ c quick oats (not instant) 1T wheat germ, 1T brown sugar        1 t baking powder      1 egg                ½ c + 1 T milk,  2 T oil

1. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. 2.  Combine egg, milk and oil.  Stir into dry ingredients until moist.  If mixture is too thick, thin it out with milk…one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency.  The thinner the batter, the thinner the pancakes.  3. Pour onto hot, greased griddle.  Serve with STRAWBERRY or BLUEBERRY SYRUP.

To make syrup:  Place one pint (2 cups) of fresh or frozen berries in a blender.  Add 1 T. honey and puree until smooth.  Serve as is or warm it up in the microwave for 30 seconds and pour over the pancakes.