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Jen, Kristen, and Patience

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Super Sidewalks Say It All

Posted by Jen on August 30, 2008 at 1:40 AM in Jen
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have an awesome day

"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.

you are fantastic have the best day ever

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.

covert carter

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.


margaret writes...

I wish I saw this last week, we totally would have gone to the school and written messages on the playground and area where the kids walk! It would have been so fun!

Jen Lemen writes...

Not too late, Margaret--I bet it will be just as happy to find those messages this week, too!

Monica writes...

What a great idea .. I'll have to see what we can do to make that happen out here next week!

Sky writes...

This is such a great idea!! I'm getting out the chalk...

tracey writes...

I love this. And that photo of Carter and the turtle face (it must be a Ninja?) is tooooo cute!!
I love that you teach your kids these acts of kindness. Things like this will change the world.

lu writes...

it is such a wonderful idea.

kelly rae writes...

this is SERIOUS and wonderful goodness. oh my.

Karen writes...

i. love. this. too cool for words. i can just see your daughter's eyes pop open with delight, mind buzzing with the possibilities of spreading a good word. you turned a day that could have started with anxiety, fear and dread into a day of giggles and love. way to go, jen!

Leah writes...

What a fantastic idea. I had my little cousins over for a visit last night (9 and 11 years of age) and they are dreading school! I bet positive messages on the way would really have brightened up their morning. Good thing it wasn't raining :D
I, personally, looved going back to school. Being a farm kid, my summers weren't full of fun and camps and friends - they involved picking rocks in fields, babysitting, riding in tractors, mowing the lawn and hanging out with my sisters. School was an escape!

Ms. Changes Pants While Driving writes...

i totally posted your pics and linked to your blog. this is a wonderful idea. i think it'll be great throughout the year.

Jeannine writes...

This is so wonderful! School for us starts on Tuesday the day after Labor Day so I know what we'll be doing early in the a.m.

rani writes...

Love this!!!! great idea! gonna do this tomorrow, so they'll be ready on Tuesday!

Jennifer writes...

What a delightful idea. I think I am going to have to engage in it myself. :)

Kristin writes...

Great idea! We wrote on the school black top "Happy 1st week of school!" My 6 year old and her buddy said, but what if a kid can't read yet? "I don't know. What do you think we should do?" "We should draw lots of smiley faces!" she ingeniously told me and proceeded to surround the message with smileys. :)

Anita writes...

LOVE This! What a fabulous concept! Our kids need more and more positive affirmations to combat this world!

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