Students Introduced to Theatre on Ripples of Kindness

By A Parent in Silver Spring

Have you made your Ripple of Kindness yet this holiday season? You probably already have, or maybe you've been on the receiving side of some goodwill-tastic works! Ripples of Kindness is Yahoo!'s cool concept that simple acts to brighten others' days will create a ripple effect, and inspire others to do the same. So far over 41,000 kindness updates and good works have been posted!

Some people have been doing totally random acts of kindness around their towns like paying people's parking meters, bringing goods to homeless people on the street, giving Starbucks gift cards to fellow parents who really look like they could use a cup. Others are organizing dinners for friends who are sick and volunteering with organizations in their community.

One day while pondering what to do, I headed to volunteer at my child's school during lunchtime. I arrived early to hear Charlie's beloved first grade teacher Ms. Hirsch reading from a Junie B. Jones book to the class. All 21 children were totally enthralled. Every so often the teacher would stop and ask the class, "Why do you think Junie B. felt that way?" or "What do you think is going to happen next?" and almost all the hands would shoot up.

That night Charlie told me that a lot of the kids were really into chapter books since Ms. Hirsch introduced them to Junie B. He rattled off friends' favorites. And that night while reading his own book in the series before bed, I heard him cackling aloud. Peeking in on my almost six year old reading in bed, with his gooseneck lamp trained on his paperback as he eagerly turned the pages all by himself was one of the best sights of my life.

And so my Ripple of Kindness will be donating tickets for Charlie's fellow students, teachers and parent chaperones to go see a production of Junie B. Jones Jingle Bells, Batman Smells at our local children's theater for a field trip. And although the class has already experienced a big field trip earlier this semester, the school is following the ripple of kindness and donating the school bus rental!

I hope the other students love this experience of theater and literature. I hope the teachers and parent chaperones have a great time being introduced to this incredible local theatre for families. I hope the students just enjoy the holiday excitement and specialness of a field trip.

Actually, this small act is a result of another ripple effect: my own mom is a public school teacher in California, and every year my grandfather, a retired farmer, personally donates the funds for classes at my mother's school to take field trips to learn about agriculture.

And it's a ripple effect from Ms. Hirsch herself -- an amazing, inspiring teacher who is lighting the fires for a lifetime love of reading in her students.

And I know that you all out there with children in school and homeschooling and playgroups do actions like this all the time. I hear of you co-oping at your children's preschools. Volunteering at their schools regularly. Chaperoning field trips. Organizing outings. Popping into the classrooms to lead the children in seasonal crafts. Baking peanut-free cupcakes at 1am the night before a class party. Offering up your own personal skills and talents to brighten kids lives.

So really, I'm inspired by you.

Jessica McFadden blogs at A Parent in Silver Spring and is a member of the Yahoo! Mother Board. She received a donation from Yahoo! to use towards participation in Ripples of Kindness.