It’s World Kindness Day. A day I’ve never known about or celebrated, but believe is more important now than ever.

 

Regardless of your political views, it’s undeniable that there’s just not enough kindness going on on the world stage.

 

In a time where we could think the small acts of kindness don’t matter with all the other huge news stories surrounding us, remind yourself of that last time someone did something kind for you. My guess is it lifted your spirit, put a smile on your face, and you (purposely or inadvertently) passed it along to someone else.

 

Or (unfortunately) easier to remember, the last time someone was unkind to you. For me, it usually happens in the car. Not receiving a wave when I let someone in, being honked at for going the speed limit, or a mean face on someone driving by–any one of these things can instantly bring me a little down.

 

The research shows that kindness is good for our health; slowing aging by increasing oxytocin (which we produce through emotional happiness) reducing levels of free radicals and inflammation in our body; strengthening our relationships which increases our chance of survival, actually built into our DNA as “kindness genes,” and improving cardiovascular circulation by releasing nitric oxide which reduces blood pressure. So if you think it doesn’t make a difference, you’re wrong.

 

I loved this simple list of different ways you can show kindness as well as teach your children to share good will with others. Would work great as a “days of the week” calendar.

 

Monday: Brighten someone’s day. Model a warm “hello” that kids can repeat when they greet their caregiver, playmates, or teacher each morning.

 

Tuesday: Remember others. Help kids call, email, Skype, or FaceTime grandma and grandpa.

 

Wednesday: Inspire giving. Set aside canned goods, cookies, juice, and cereal. Take your kids along when you deliver items to the local food bank.

 

Thursday: Embrace gratitude. Remind kids to put the sitter, the librarian, or the parent in charge of carpool onto their I-need-to-thank-them list. (of course the last one is our favorite!)

 

Friday: Reward efforts. Dole out a thank you and a warm hug when kids pick up toys or books they weren’t responsible for dropping.

 

Saturday: Smile like crazy. It’s a terrific way to make others feels great.

 

Sunday: As many of the above as you can

 

Obviously we love to talk about carpooling, but I really think this is a great way to show kindness—to the stressed out parent who needs a little support; struggling child who could use a little laughter/yummy snack/a good song on the way home; or to the parent that uses their time to save you lots of time, a note of thanks would go a long way.

 

We’ve tried to build it into our Pogo app the ability to easily help out another parent as well as thank someone who made your life a bit easier. We think, in our own little corner of the carpooling world, that kindness in this form can have a ripple effect.

 

Remember that next time you let a parent merge in front of you in the school the drop-off line, you might just be making their whole day.

 

Happy Carpooling!

 

—Julia

 

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