I set out to write “The Adventures of Phatty & Payaso: Central Park” as a charming story inspired by my own pets and their daily life. It was only after the manuscript was completed and being read by friends and family did I realize that writing this book would NOT be my most significant accomplishment, as I had thought... My most important achievement would be creating a platform for my characters to encourage and inspire acts of kindness, and cultivate positive character skills in children.
The more I read about how social media has become the new playground for bullying, the more inspired I felt to help spread kindness instead. Children were not only being bullied at school, but now had to deal with bullying long after they got home, because of social media. I came up with the idea of a kindness challenge so kids had a reason to turn to social media for a positive experience.
The energy and excitement I felt about having my name on the cover of a book was no longer as exciting as envisioning children everywhere taking part in a kindness movement. The thought of kids everywhere treating other kids more kindly and working together to eradicate hate felt like no other accomplishment I could ever imagine.
We are asking kids everywhere to take the Kindness Challenge by downloading and printing the “Be A Kindness AdvoCATe” sign from the LetsAllBeKind.com website. Kids can do something kind and share their kindness story by hashtagging: #LetsAllBeKind to inspire others to do the same! Seeing kids begin to go out of their way to be kind is so moving--we’re spreading and inspiring kindness in an entirely new way! Imagine children and adults encouraging others across social media to spread the message of kindness, instead of providing criticism.
To help kids and their parents get started I hope to provide some tips on how to join the #LetsALlBeKind movement whether you and your family want to participate, your children want to join in on the fun, or an individual kid wants to spread love.
Here are the top five ways to be a #KindnessAdvoCATe as a family:
- Volunteer together on something that makes a difference to others such as a walk for a great cause set up a lemonade stand and donate the money raised or merely support a local charity
- Be kind to the elderly and find ways to include them or assist them
- Be the best family you can be by being there for one another and/or your pets by helping each other, being there for each other and working through problems together as a family
- Be kind to animals by assisting hurt or stray animals, supporting local zoos or volunteering to help at your local shelters
- Work as a family to take up a collection for other families in need after a crisis such as natural disasters like hurricanes, fires or tornadoes. Be there for families that are suffering from a death in a family, disease or mental illness. Work together to bring joy or donate supplies when possible.
Here are the top five ways to be a #KindnessAdvoCATe with a group of friends:
- Be supportive of your classmates and be kind to those that struggle to fit in and embrace/invite a new, shy, different or socially challenged students into your group. Be inclusive by being sure to include everyone in your games and plans when possible
- Find a great cause and work together as a group to support it in any way you can
- Be willing to make a positive difference in someone else’s day
- Be watchful how you talk about others, be sure not to spread gossip or meanness and stick up for those in need of support
- Be aware of what makes someone a bully and be sure never to bully or manipulate your friends
Here are the top five ways to be a #KindnessAdvoCATe as an individual
- Be patient with others
- Be courteous by saying please, thank you, ask people how they are and listen to their response. Offer a smile or warm hello to everyone you come across
- Be the best you that you can be and spread kindness when you see the opportunity
- Be willing to help out family and friends in need
- Be understanding, compassionate, sympathetic and empathic at all times. Work hard to imagine what life is like in someone else’s shoes? And then embrace those who are having a tough time.
Be sure to share your kindness story on social media with the hashtag #LetsAllBeKind and say you are proud to be a #KindnessAdvoCATe!
“The Adventures of Phatty & Payaso: Central Park” not only teaches kids so many valuable lessons in life such as forgiveness, love, and friendship, but it has given us the platform to make sure the message of kindness, forgiveness and good character skills is heard loud and clear. When a child takes on the initiative to be a kindness advocate they are doing their part to not only stop bullying, but setting a precedent for how others should be treated.
A kindness advocate doesn’t discriminate, doesn’t stand for bullies, loves all, and takes on the commitment to not only spread kindness, but to be kind at all times. Will you join us? #LetsAllBeKind
About Marie Unanue
Marie Unanue is the new author of the children’s book series, “The Adventures of Phatty & Payaso.” Marie has always been an avid reader and an activist for children who are bullied. As a kindness advocate, she hopes to inspire children across the world to remember to always treat each other with kindness and compassion. The former anchor of “Travels with Marie,” a weekly travel review program, Marie Unanue is also the former vice president of sales and marketing of Honeymoons.com and former owner of Beyond Compare Events, an event planning, marketing and public relations firm. Marie is the on the Women's Committee of the Central Park Conservancy, sits on the board of the C&J Unanue Foundation, and the New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade Foundation. Marie resides with her husband Andy and their animals in NYC and Mantoloking, NJ. Visit her at www.letsallbekind.com.