As we all bunker down during this pandemic, it is important to remember physical isolation does not mean emotional isolation. Human connection is more important than ever — and that is becoming more apparent than ever as this crisis unfolds.
While the world retreats to the safety of their homes, the internet is connecting people in new and innovative ways.
Countless celebrities are reading books for children online in an initiative started by actresses Jennifer Garner and Amy Adams called #savewithstories, younger members of society are offering to do groceries for older and more vulnerable members in the community and kids are writing letters of thanks to frontline staff in our hospitals. We’ve seen messages of hope scribed in chalk on driveways and footpaths and people connecting through new ways online. While the world is defending itself from this fast-spreading virus, kindness is proving itself just as contagious and is spreading through our streets and wider community, one small act at a time.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
A Facebook group, ‘The Kindness Pandemic’, was set up by Dr Catherine Barrett to set off a chain reaction of kindness after scenes of violence and panic buying in supermarkets had people craving kindness and connection in their community. The Facebook group shares acts of kindness posted by the group’s rapidly growing number of members and inspires others to share these random acts within their communities as well. There are stories of strangers leaving notes for supermarket workers thanking them for their hard work during these sometimes-desperate times, cash donations to bookshops to allow local kids to purchase books that they may otherwise not be able to afford, paying for coffee for the next person in line and creating care packages for those in need. People flood the group daily with messages of hope, kindness and compassion.
ON A SMALLER SCALE
If grand gestures or anonymous acts aren’t for you, keep your kindness on a smaller scale. Mother Teresa is famously quoted for saying, “if you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” You could leave a note or positive affirmation on your child’s lunch, create a chalk art rainbow or message of hope on your driveway with your kids or make a family favourite meal and eat it under the stars as a special picnic dinner. Small acts of love can be just as powerful as large acts of kindness.
INVOLVING THE FAMILY
Here are some simple ideas to help involve the family and start a ripple of kindness in your own community:
- Create artwork for grandparents or friends to let them know you’re thinking of them
- Order a pizza for an isolated family member or loved one and share a virtual pizza night
- Record you and your child reading their favourite book. Send it to their friends, encouraging them to do the same and share story time
- Encourage older kids to start a virtual book club or movie night
- Check in with an elderly neighbour and offer to drop off groceries or supplies
- Write thank you letters for essential workers to help brighten their day
- Create chalk rainbows and positive affirmations on the driveway to bring a smile to your neighbours’ faces
- Organise an online exercise class or challenge with your child’s friends to encourage some feel-good fun and endorphins
Check out your role as the parent during the pandemic here.
Stephanie Meekings is a Digital Media Officer at Cairns Catholic Education