"Hey, Mad--" I call to my sweet girl in a stage whisper--her wild hair a tangle of golden strands on the pillowcase, her growing limbs curled around a pile of blankets. "What do you think about taking chalk and leaving positive messages for the kids to find on their first day of school?"
It takes no time at all for her eyes to pop open and a warm happiness to fill her face. She's still a little bit high off her last kindness adventure with our sister Patience, so her enthusiasm is close to the surface. "Let's do it," she says, sitting up and reaching for her clothes set out carefully beside the bed. "I'll go find the chalk."
The kids eat breakfast while I call my friend Anne who lives down the street to see if she and her son Andrew want in on the guerrilla goodness. "Sounds great!" she says. "We'll be there in five."
The kids are excited now, and I am, too. Isn't it funny how something as simple as offering up a hopeful surprise can make an otherwise stressful morning feel so completely great? Isn't it amazing how doing something for someone else makes so many of your own worries melt?
We meet Anne and Andrew across the street and each chalk out our own individual words of encouragement. Everyone gets to write whatever she or he wants, but the kids' messages are by far the best.
We hide our chalk just in time for the first wave of neighborhood kids come marching up the street. Nothing but delight on those sweet faces--and then their excitement to discover yet another message waiting a few more feet away.
Carter in particular enjoyed taking his covert status as mystery sidewalk chalker very seriously.
What do you think? Feel like sending out some love to your neighborhood this week? Invite your kids to be agents of happiness and hope on the sidewalks nearest you, then upload your pictures to the PBS Parents Supersisters Flickr Pool. Be sure to leave links to your pictures and stories in the comments below.
With the school year really taking off this week, we can't think of a better way to start the year off right.