As a parent, I strive everyday to teach my kids to be open, accepting and non-judgmental. It is not a one-time thing, but a constant teachable moment. However, there was one occasion when my kids caught me crying.

Rather than brush it off, and telling them I had a bug in my eye or some such thing, I told them the truth. Someone online made fun of me. They told me in written words that I was nothing and worthless. It wasn’t the first time. I have had many strangers comment online about my clothing, smile, hair and other trivial matters. Heck, I’ve even had former college administrators tell me that, and work colleagues. However, this was the first time it was a friend. A fellow blogger at that.

My kids then asked, “Why didn’t they choose kindness?” We had a discussion about how many people jump to conclusions, don’t take the time to learn about someone else, refuse to ask questions, or haven’t learned be open to others opinions and view points. Sometimes hate can be from ignorance, superiority, anger, or mental illness. Sometimes it can be reversed:

“Why do my teachers say we should not judge people by their color, but I get judged because I don’t have dark skin?”

I have to tell my kids that while teaching about this is important, sometimes grownups need more practice in teaching it and living it. However, just because we are not good at it at first, we cannot stop trying.

“Like basketball”, my son says. “I wasn’t good at all, but I kept trying and I got good. People still don’t pass me the ball because they think they are better than me, but I cannot let it bother me, right Mom? I still need to do my best.”

Our family motto is: We don’t care what you are, but we care how you are.

You may recall the book Wonder. It is a #1 New York Times bestselling book by R.J. Palacio, and the movie came out last year starring Julia Roberts. It has inspired millions to be kind. If you have not seen this movie, or read the book, I cannot recommend it enough!

Random House Children’s Books wants to continue to encourage kids, families, and educators nationwide to #ChooseKind in 2018 with an opt-in pledge, and a motivating consumer products line, like shirts, school supplies and more. Choosing kindness should not just be a 2017 thing.

If you have a social media account – take to Twitter, influence on Instagram or share on Facebook these #ChooseKind messages:

  • Make a pledge to #ChooseKind. Embrace the powerful message with the Wonder app by @RandomHouseKids.
  • 2018 is The Year of Wonder. Join the movement, share #ChooseKind with the pledge and more via @RandomHouseKids.
  • Get inspired & take the pledge to #ChooseKind in 2018 and show support for the Year of Wonder @RandomHouseKids.

Then check out the Wonder App. Wonder App. Based on the book 365 Days of Wonder by #1 New York Times bestselling author R. J. Palacio, the Daily Wonder App is a free daily affirmation app for kids that provides a precept for each day of the year celebrating goodness and strength. It is free on the App store.

Here are even more ways to show that you choose kind. This link will take you to where you can sign a pledge, download badges and stickers and more. The more ways you can show that you choose kind in your life, that of your families’ life and how we raise our children, the better the world will be. One day at a time.

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One Comment

  1. What a beautiful piece Charlene. It is so unreal that people are so cruel online. I just don’t get it at all. Your kids are so smart and mindful. Their mama has obviously taught them well and you should be very proud!

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