"How beautiful a day can be when kindness touches it." (George Elliston)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Catching Kindness

Although the weather postponed the Superhero fence painting extravaganza, that does not mean the superheroes have been sitting idle.  Last Wednesday, three Superheroes visited Sharon, whose fence we will stain, and delivered her handmade flowers to say thank you for her patience as we keep our eyes on the weather.  We deviated from our norm; usually we use pipe cleaners for stems but on this day we were able to use twigs from part of my apple tree that has not regrown.  Marquez, Lucero, and Bridget doned capes (Lucero for the first time, and playing the role of our youngest superhero so far) and walked down the street.  We surprised Sharon, arriving an hour earlier than we had thought.  But she was glad to see us still.  "These are the best kind of flowers," she said, "because you don't have to water them and they last forever!"  Sharon knew we were coming (we had called to see that she would be home), and had set out Glacier quarters to give each child.  The children walked away beaming, not expecting to receive their own thank you gift.

We are excited to say it looks like we have an official date.  Next Wednesday, July 6th at 5:30, the superhero children and superhero volunteers will gather to finally stain Sharon's fence.  If you would like to join, just email the superheroes and we will make sure you have the address.

I have been able to follow one Superhero as she caught a case of kindness from a friend and has done her job to spread this contagious need to make others smile.  Recently a Superhero, who we shall call Violet, received a card in the mail.  The card was unexpected, as were the stickers found inside.  Violet grinned the whole day long.  The next morning this random act of kindness was the first thing she talked about.  Violet woke up and reminded me of her mail (what a treat for a young child to receive mail) and then asked if we could give someone flowers.  I expected this young lady to want to take flowers to her friend, Linn, who had sent the card.  But no.  Violet wanted to take flowers to a teacher from her school, "just because."  She just wanted to let this teacher know, "that she is nice and I miss her."  So we loaded up in the jogger and delivered a flower to Gerri.  And the kindness did not stop there.  The next several days were filled with Violet choosing (on her own) someone she wanted to make smile.  A picture for Grandma.  A note for Grandpa.  A call to Aunt Katie "because she will be so surprised to hear my voice and she will smile, mama."  In fact, we have three cards to mail today that have been made especially for some friends from school.  It really seems as if she cannot stop, and it all started from someone mailing a card to let this little one know someone was thinking of her.  My favorite was at the grocery store last weekend, when Violet looked up at the woman helping bag our groceries and said, "Wow, you are just so beautiful."  I watched that woman just glow, knowing her day was just made infinitely better.  Maybe even her week.  Seeing the power of saying something you are thinking or feeling, feeling a little unsure of saying it but knowing deep down it will make the other person smile.    

Watching Violet so happily perform these acts of kindness, some small and some not so small, and watching them ripple over a distance farther than my eye can see, has made me take a deeper look into my day.  What can I do in this moment to make someone around me smile?  Hmmm, I think I will go answer that right now.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Thank You Mission

Thank you Cody Schliebe for making this dream come true.

This mission, the final school year mission, is one that I shall remember for a while.  The Superheroes embraced the spirit of these acts of kindness and really, truly believed they were Superheroes called into action.  They flew (or ran) the entire distance with smiles and jokes the entire way.  Each one had learned that showing appreciation is a most important of tasks.  For this mission, they were able to take a teacher, Meg, from another classroom on her first mission.  I still smile at how transformative putting on those capes of kindness has been.

The mission, which we accepted with great pride, was to deliver a thank you note to Bernice's Bakery.  For the last couple of years, Bernice's Bakery has baked the pizzas the children make each month so that the school can hold Pizza Day, a day in which each child in the school is part of the process of creating pizza to enjoy together.  We were charged with delivering a thank you note.

The children were very excited to don their capes and enjoy a (rare) sunny day.  They 'flew' the whole time!  As mentioned before, flying means running so fast that we believe we are actually flying.  Usually we fly a block or two and then need to walk a bit.  But the joy of the mission took over and boy did we want to fly.  The children did stop at each corner, lay down, and take a nap for a minute before they took on the next stretch of block.

We took a detour to Bitterroot Floral to pick out flowers.  The children were very excited to pick out their bouquet and were even recognized by the store workers.  After carefully selecting our flowers, we made our way to Bernice's where we were able to hand deliver our thank you.

This particular delivery ended up being extra special, as the fellow who had oversaw our pizza baking will be leaving after the summer to pursue photography.  The joy on his face as this group of children hand-delivered flowers and a thank you note, not knowing we were also saying goodbye to a friend, was worth the trip.  He brought out his camera and took a couple of pictures of the children before we flew back to school for music.

During the mission, one boy who had put his shoes on the wrong feet and initially resisted the adult requests to switch his shoes to the right feet, finally decided to put his shoes on the appropriate feet.  He was feeling like he could not move as fast as he wanted.  Immediately upon making the switch he flew down the street bearing a huge grin.  He stopped to say, "Kristal - look!  I am flying so fast there are stars coming out of my back!"  And sure enough, there were.  I do believe I could not have scripted a better last mission.  Thank you, my original band of superheroes, for helping make a difference one mission at a time.

*The first summer mission - fence painting with Imagine Missoula - was delayed due to rain.  As soon as there are a couple of sunny days, we will reschedule.  If you would like to join us, just email the superheroes.