Happy RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) Day!!


Today's my favorite holiday, and yet, not many people know about it.  Today is a national day to celebrate kindness, but even more, it's a day to promote random kindness--meaning unplanned kindness to everyone and anyone.

This quote comes from the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.

I started celebrating this day/week when Lewie was just four years old.  We'd bake cookies, write cards, and create little "surprise" care packages for our friends and family.  The fun of it, as he soon learned, was the element of surprise.  Giving from the heart feels good, but it feels even better when you surprise someone with no expectation to receive anything in return.

This year, I gathered up my surprise gift boxes, and we (Lewie and I) started delivering them on Friday.  Since everyone lives at a distance, it's hard to do the surprise visits all in one day, so instead, it's been a weekend of giving.  Thankfully, I have President's Day off tomorrow, so I'll be able to finish my mission then.  Little Lewie's used to the routine; he knew exactly who we would be visiting this year.

Still, RAK week is not just for celebrating the ones we love and cherish.  It's also about doing favors for those around us whether it's holding a door, buying someone a cup of coffee, sharing a smile, offering to carry a heavy bag, etc.  We intentionally do these small gestures today with the hope that they become an everyday habit.  My goal is not to raise the smartest, richest, or most successful kid; my goal is to raise a thoughtful human being who is kind, gentle, and confident.

This year, as I started looking up Random Acts of Kindness for kids, I uncovered this amazing website/business called The Idea Box Kids (http://theideaboxkids.com/).  An idea box is "a little box filled with wood coins" that provide inspirational ideas for kids.  (I wish I knew about this when Lewie was younger.)  Still, I came across their "Caring" box, which provides simple ideas/acts on how to display kindness, such as "Tell someone you love them," "Be patient today," "Pull some weeds or water plants," "Put a note or picture on someone's pillow before bed," etc.  Even though the box is meant for children, I bought it for the entire family.  From now until the end of the month, all of us will be selecting a coin or two and doing "a caring act."  In fact, I hope to pull out this box anytime we may need a reminder on how we can touch people's lives and create a culture of altruism.
Image comes from http://theideaboxkids.com/teaching-empathy-kids-acts-of-kindness/

This image comes from http://theideaboxkids.com/teaching-empathy-kids-acts-of-kindness/.
I'm using photos right from the Idea Box Kids website because they so beautifully share their craftsmanship.  (Their photos are way better than mine.)  I highly encourage anyone with children to look at their array of boxes.  I bought others for Lewie that I hope to open during the summer, with coins on "Adventure" and essential "Life Skills."

For now, the biggest life skill I can wish for Lewie is how to be kind to people--even when people are not kind back or do not share our same values.  In some ways, it might be one of the hardest lessons for us to learn, and yet, it could inspire a movement that changes our lives and the world.

February Happenings...


Bronchitis and some sort of super head cold has struck our house.  It all started with my husband.  Nearly a week into the New Year, he started coughing and learned early on that he had developed bronchitis.  A week later, I had a scratchy sore throat with head congestion.  Each day the symptoms of my head cold became more pronounced--achy eyes, throbbing head, raw nose (from blowing too much), and sheer exhaustion.  Today, six weeks later, I'm still suffering with a less acute version of it.  My husband is still coughing, and now, it appears, it's Little Lewie's turn.  Yesterday he started coughing, and today he's feeling tired.  Oh no!!!

This super cold has made it so that we're not doing very much at all.  We trek back and forth between home, school, and work.  We've managed to fit in a few swim lessons and Cub Scout meets (that is, in-between napping and lying on the couch with a box of tissues).  And finally, last week, I had enough energy to put away all my Christmas decorations and replace them with my Valentine's Day stuff.  Yes, when we're not feeling well, I can only celebrate the little stuff.  There's simply not enough energy to do anything more.

Here is a list of our February happenings, especially those that are planned (fingers crossed).

Scout Sunday
Today we celebrated Scout Sunday.  Each year, our Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts attend a special mass that is dedicated to recognizing the contributions of young people and adults in scouting (usually the second Sunday in February in our community).  There's not too much pomp and circumstance (Thank goodness!); instead, the scouts and leaders wear their uniforms and process in and out of mass with the alter servers, lector, and priest.  We sit at mass together, have a few nice things said about us, and then go home with our respective families.  Three of our boys brought up the flags this year, and Little Lewie and Dorian brought up the gifts.  Thankfully, we all had enough energy to participate and go out for breakfast before we returned home to sleep.  (Okay, I suppose I'm the only one that went back to bed.  I'm still yawning.)

Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Day
Random Acts of Kindness Day lands on a Sunday, February 17th this year.  In the past, I've celebrated the day/week by baking cookies with Lewie and putting together treat bags for some of my closest friends.  Little Lewie would then help me deliver them.  This year I may change things up a little.  If I'm still not over my cold, baking cookies might not be such a great idea, but I'll find another way to surprise my friends and the important people in my life.  In fact, I started a little early this year.  I've already sent a few care packages to my friends that live the furthest--Alma in Spain and Mary Ann in New Jersey.  It's a long story, but let's just say that I met both of them while I was in college--Alma during my first study abroad trip and Mary Ann in our college marching band.  I adore both of them!

This was Little Lewie helping me bake Valentine's Day cookies during our first RAK celebration.
Webelos Crossover Ceremony
On February 22, we will be watching our oldest Webelos cross over.  During the ceremony, the Cub Scouts cross over a ceremonial "bridge" and choose one of two paths.  They either choose to go on to Boy Scouts (the troop waits for them at the end of the bridge), or they choose to end their Scout adventure, in which case, their parent/s receive them at the end of the bridge. 

This particular Webelos ceremony will be bittersweet for me.  Thankfully, Lewie is not old enough to cross over to Boy Scouts yet.  He still has one more full year, and I've already made a pact with myself that I will do my best to make it the best year ever.  However, it will be sad to watch our current Cub Master and our Pack Committe Chair leave with their den of eight boys.  We started our Cub Scout journey with them, and they've been the ones to do and teach us everything.  Without their encouragement, I would have never envisioned myself to be a leader, and I most certainly wouldn't see myself in the position to become the new Pack Committee Chair.  Their dedication has been amazing, and they are the reason the Pack still exists in our town.  Lewie will miss having pack meetings with those eight boys--only two of them will be going on to Boy Scouts.  It is the end of an era.
We have one more year of Cub Scouts!!
Jim Gaffigan
There's not much to do when you're feeling tired and sickly.  On those days/weekends where it takes every ounce of energy to peel ourselves off the couch, we've decided to laugh our way back to health.  My husband and I started to look up our favorite comedians on Netflix and Amazon, and we got hooked.  In fact, Little Lewie (now ten) has been able to join the fun, and he's become a huge fan of stand-up comedy.  Admittedly, some jokes go over his head, but there are lots of "clean" comedians out there that are very family friendly.  Our all-time favorite is Jim Gaffigan, but we also like Brian Regan, Demetri Martin, and Kevin James, to name a few.

After our Jim Gaffigan binge (we watched every video out there known to man), my husband saw that he's coming to Connecticut the weekend of February 22nd!  I decided our Valentine's Day present to ourselves will be to see him on stage live and in-person for his "Quality Time Tour."  (I love the name!!)
This is courtesy of Google Images 
So, to come back full circle, I suppose if we didn't get sick, we wouldn't have spent as much time watching TV, which is to say, we wouldn't have gotten reconnected with Jim Gaffigan, which means we wouldn't have been looking for tickets to see him.  So, as much as I don't like being tired and having a pounding headache, it was meant for me/us to get sick.  I just hope I'll be feeling better for the actual show.  I'm stocked up on my Vitamin C, zinc, and echinacea tea.