Updated: Apr 19, 2019
Between today’s highly charged political environment and the many stressors of the day,
I sometimes find negativity creeping into my mind and while I try my best to resist, it is not easy. I need to turn off the news, talk radio and even ignore discussions from others in front of me in line at the Supermarket with all the polarizing things going on in the world today.
I am usually a very positive person, looking for the silver lining in every cloud. So, if I am being affected by the woes of the day and the voices invading the airways, I can only imagine how it must be affecting our children and grandchildren. According to Professor of Psychiatry at Cornell, Dr. Barbara Milrod, "Strong emotions are contagious – particularly anxiety. And while anxiety spreads easily among us all, children are the most vulnerable."
Kids tend to internalize things - from the raised voices in the next room to challenges at school or troubles with interpersonal relationships. Some of our kids struggle with other issues like bullying, learning disabilities, poverty and more. These things can make them feel isolated from others. They may think that they just don’t “fit in”. While I know (from firsthand experience) that dealing with adversity can make us stronger, I can’t help but want something more for our children - a positive force for good. One that could empower them and give them a sense of control and other benefits that can combat the negative influences on their life.
With my latest work in progress picture book, Kindness, Love, Unity & Bravery: Join the KLUB - No Bullies Allowed. We find our sweet little Labradoodle character and his friends coming face to face with bullies and feeling discouraged, left out and hurt. They are reminded by wise Aunt Nola that they are not alone. There are many others who face the same challenges and those doing the bullying are in the minority. “Do not let the bullies make you feel small. Stand together and you will stand tall.” she tells them. Given this inspiration, the animal friends decide to form a club… or should I say KLUB?
The letters K-L-U-B mean something important and become guiding principles for the group - Kindness, Love, Unity and Bravery. With those four "tools" the animal friends decide that they can accomplish anything. Kindness and love lead to friendship, inclusion instead of bullying and help for those in need. Unity is a strong word that means they are not alone. It represents working with others toward a common goal (being part of something bigger than ourselves). In the case of our Little Labradoodle and his friends, it is standing together to embrace goodness, stand against bullying, welcoming / serving others and making the world a better place. Wouldn’t that be amazing?!
The final tool is bravery, which is a critical part of accomplishing those big goals and being successful when faced with adversity. Fear comes with the unknown or when dealing with difficult situations. Having courage is not about the absence of fear, but it is moving forward and taking action despite the existence of fear. It is much easier to be brave with encouragement from others and knowledge that you are not alone. Those four tools are powerful guiding principles and values for our Little Labradoodle, his friends and KLUB members.
Yes - we CAN make a difference… one good deed at a time, one act of love and kindness at a time, one volunteer opportunity at a time. HelpGuide.org (trusted guide to mental and
emotional health) lists the following benefits from volunteering / helping others:
Connects us to others - Helps with making new friends, increases social and relationship skills.
Good for the mind and body - Reduces stress, anger and anxiety; combats depression; increases happiness, self-confidence, provides a sense of purpose and helps us stay physically healthy.
Improves skills and experience - Could even result in career opportunities.
Brings fun and fulfillment to our life .
There is no better way, in my opinion, to counteract the negativity and its impact on us
and the children we love than spreading kindness and getting out of our own heads, away from our own perceived problems and making difference in the lives of others. That is what the Little Labradoodle stands for and this sweet character will work hard to influence others to make a difference too.
While being the recipient of a random act of kindness is wonderful, impact on the one that does the giving can be profound. I hope The Little Labradoodle KLUB creates not just a mindset, but a movement with kids, teachers, parents, coaches, youth groups and more. If you would like to be a part of it, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to battling the negative forces and stressors invading my day by joining with others, introducing more positivity into the world and making it a better place. Yes, together we CAN make a difference!
The new book will be going to editing later this month. If you would like to be a beta reader for the book, we would be glad to include you! Silicone bracelets have been ordered with “The Little Labradoodle KLUB” debossed on them along with the words, “KINDNESS, LOVE, UNITY & BRAVERY”. It is a symbol of the commitment made and empowers the wearer, reminding them that they are part of something bigger than themselves - a community that cares about improving things.
I will wear my Little Labradoodle KLUB bracelet proudly. Won’t you join me?
Visit http://www.thelittlelabradoodle.com/klub for more information and materials.