education, kindness, REBkind, reflection, travel, vacation

Canadian Kindness

As part of my #REBkind travel experience to “Cultivate Kindness for Global Impact,” I flew to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada to spend some time with Annick Rauch, a first grade French immersion teacher. Annick and I have been virtual friends on Twitter for several years now, but only met in person four weeks ago at the #ISTE19 conference.

Annick and I at #ISTE19.

It’s interesting how one can feel so connected to another without having actually spent time with them in person. While we’ve spent hours conversing on Twitter, Voxer, and even a few Google Hangouts, having the opportunity to spend quality time together was an incredible gift to receive!

A perfect sign for our visit together!

We had many things planned during my visit, as this was the first time I had traveled to a foreign country on my own. I wanted to see and experience all things Canadian while also brainstorming and planning with Annick to move forward with a year-long kindness collaboration between her first grade class and a first grade class at my school in the States.

On Saturday morning, as we prepared to start our day, I glanced at Twitter and saw that I was tagged in a post from Dave Reimer about my book, A Passion for Kindness:

The tweet made me laugh because I hadn’t even given any thought whatsoever about book signings during this trip, but if you know me well, you know that kindness is constantly on my mind and I am always up for a great adventure!

Later that afternoon we finally connected with Dave and, oh, what an amazing experience! What began as a simple request for a book signing created a ripple effect of kindness! Take a peek at the tweets Dave shared capturing the moment we met and what happened next!

Friends, let me tell you. This ripple effect brought SO much joy to my soul for a multitude of reasons! It was humbling to not only meet a stranger who had read my book, but one who so readily wanted to share his experiences, too!

It was just as incredible to see how his family joined in the fun, supporting his passion for kindness in completing RAKs as a family adventure the next day. Cultivating kindness isn’t just a “one time thing,” but a catalyst to be the good for others, too.

I was humbled to share this moment with my dear friend, Annick, who had already blessed me with her generosity as chauffeur and photographer throughout the trip. Personal photos are my little reminders of the joys in this world so it was an absolute delight to have these images to share and reflect on as part of my #REBkind experience.

On Sunday, Annick and I snuck back to Dave’s house to leave one of Gini Bonnell’s “Be Kind” signs on his doorstep. (For those who have read my book, it’s the one showcased on p.42!) What a wonderful way to keep the kindness going!

Giving away another handcrafted Be Kind sign!
The sign has found a perfect home!

In addition to the ripple effect started by Dave and his family, Annick and I scattered small acts of kindness in a local grocery store to join in the Grocery Store Challenge promoted by Sofia’s Angels RAOK Foundation. We left Canadian coins on a bag of ketchup-flavored Lay’s Potato Chips (because we don’t have them here in the States!) and taped coins near the Crayola crayons display so a child could “Color the World with Kindness.” Then, as we were leaving the store, Annick RAK’d me back by purchasing a bag of ketchup chips I could take home for my kids to enjoy!

A Canadian Superstore!
I found the ketchup chips! Who knew?!
I exchanged American dollars with Annick’s Canadian coins so locals could purchase items in the store.
Annick then surprised me with my very own bag of ketchup chips – the first time I’ve ever eaten them!
“Color the world with kindness”

I even left a copy of my book to be discovered by someone visiting the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, a perfect place to remind others of the many ways we can, and should, value the contributions of one another.

Another donated book – this time at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights
They had a Nelson Mandela exhibit at the museum, so I left a note referencing a quote I included by him in my book.

In a world that is filled with conflict and chaos, it’s refreshing to step away for a bit and focus on things that bring joy to our soul. We each have our passions, purpose, and missions to achieve in this life. Mine is simply being kind to others and seeing what happens next. Sharing this story with you, my fabulous friends, is icing on the cake!

If you complete an act of kindness this week as part of Dave’s pay-it-forward challenge, let us know by posting with the hashtag #passionforkindness! Your kindness inspires! We can each do our part to make this world a beautiful place to lead, love, and learn. And if you ever make your way to Winnipeg, be sure to say hello to Annick and Dave. They will make your day brighter, guaranteed!

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