To spread kindness to our neighbors this year I had big plans for all the cute, fun things we could make. I had visions of pinterest-worthy crafts to show our neighbors just how much we appreciated them. And then tragedy struck Sandy Hook Elementary last week and beautiful creations no longer seemed to be what our neighbors needed.
Our local elementary school was in partial lock down all week. Parents could not walk their kids to their classrooms or go in to eat lunch with them. Holiday parties were not cancelled, but the number of parents who could attend them was severely limited. Parents in my and other neighborhoods were upset. They needed a little love and kindness.
So we made cinnamon applesauce ornaments. Because sweet and simple just felt right.
- cookie cutters
- twine or string
We are old school when it comes to cinnamon ornaments and use the McCormick recipe. Mix together 3/4 cup of applesauce and a 4 ounce container of cinnamon.
Roll out the dough and cut into shapes with cookie cutters.
We poke a hole in the top and let dry out on the counter for a couple days.
You can paint, glitter, and bejewel them, but this year we just tied them with red and white twine and hung them on neighbors doors when they weren’t home. And hoped it made them smile when they got home.
I think focusing on service and kindness is one of my most important jobs as a mother and I want to make sure this becomes a lifelong lesson and mission, not just something for the holiday season. I want giving to be so ingrained in our lives that we cannot imagine what it would be like to stop.
So we are going to continue to do acts of kindness all year long. Because the sentiment I posted on facebook last week still holds true for me today.
“Numb still from Friday’s tragedy I spent the weekend hugging my kiddos and being surrounded in a bubble of good loving friends. Today we stepped out of our bubble and back into real life and I find that I still have no words to even begin to offer, just prayers. And remembrance. And Random Acts of Christmas Kindness that seem even better, even brighter now.”
I don’t have the answers for what we, as the adults of the world, should do to prevent this from ever occurring again. And as a mom I don’t like that. Having worked in the mental health field during and right after college as a TSS worker and at a partial school program for kids with severe social and emotional issues I know that this is an area that needs improvement. But I can’t fix that or anything else today.
However, I am a mom. And today, in our family, I can teach my kids by example to be good, kind, caring citizens of the world. And we can spread kindness and understanding to our friends and neighbors and community. While I’m not naive enough to think that will solve all the problems of the world, I do know it does make a difference. Even if it is a small one. But a bunch of small, intentional acts of kindness all around the world is a start. A good start.