Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Not an End, Only a Beginning

Day 365
Wow.  We did it. 

I’ll admit.  I’ve been dragging my heels a bit in the sand anxious to type up our last random act.  Although this year has clearly changed the way we think about kindness and finding ways to incorporate it into our daily lives, typing Day 365 still felt like an end to something. 

That’s when I realized it was only the beginning. 

For the last several weeks, I’ve met with some folks to help plan a permanent kindness club for Cincinnati.  (The real kudos go to Kasey and Meghan.  I’m more the idea-person and the person-who-brings-people person.) 

From our cluttered table at Panera filled with community-minded folks who want to see kindness spread sprang the Cincinnati Kindness Movement.  This grassroots initiative will bring strangers together on a regular basis to commit a service project and reinforce the idea that kindness is a seed we plant and nurture if we want it to blossom and grow.

We have big plans, Cincinnati.  Plans so large, Cincinnati might not be able to contain them.  My deepest hope is that similar clubs will take root in other cities.  It could happen.   

This Sunday we held our inaugural meeting. 

The boys came.  Chaz, of course, was there.  My friend Victoria braved the snow and found our gathering.  Kasey and her family were there.  Meghan, Emily and the Starfire girls.  I’m giving a shout out to Susan who tried to come but wrote down the wrong address and ended up somewhere across town.  Her intentions were good.  In total, nearly two-dozen folks gathered to celebrate kindness. 

The movement’s growing.  Every day more join us on Facebook.

 People stop and ask me how they can get involved.  It’s an amazing feeling to see it germinate from idea to actuality.   

When the boys and I started our year, we didn’t have any expectations.  I wanted us to live this experiment one day at a time and see where it took us.  The road less traveled led us to a community where kindness wins.  The boys and I started looking for kindness in others as we searched for ways we could be more kind. 

All around us, we saw others helping strangers, neighbors helping neighbors, friends helping friends.  The experience has forever changed me because I know no matter where we go or whatever we do, we can find ways to make something better by being kind.  

For those who found my blog offensive or self-serving, I say this.  This year was about finding ways to incorporate kindness into my children’s lives and to make it as natural to them as playing ball.  We, as parents, can teach our kids to find opportunities to help in their community.  They watch us with big, open eyes.  They mirror what we do.  Yes, this was a public platform to show them, and show them I did.  For that, I’m not sorry. 

People ask me what did I want my boys to learn from our year.  To this, I answer to be kind.  To always be kind. 

So what now?  Besides The Cincinnati Kindness Movement?  I’ll be shifting my energies to finishing The Bully Antidote, a fiction book aimed at middle school readers.  My son’s promise to his class that I’d read it to them weighs on me.  I always did do better with a hard deadline. 

I’ll be posting chapters on this space so I hope you’ll be back to visit.  Feel free to comment and/or share.  I don’t know how the story ends but am confident I’ll figure it out.  If I can type Day 1 with no plan, I can certainly figure out how to get to The End.    


  1. I love your blog. I'm disappointed that anyone could find your blog offensive or self serving. I think what you are trying to instill in your kids is lovely! Random acts of kindness are wonderful!

    1. Thanks so much for spending the year with us. I'm excited about our next project and helping the Cincinnati Kindness Movement grow!

  2. Congrats on completing your project! Thank you for sharing your experiences and relfections with all of us!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I'll be checking in on you as you continue your year with your kids as well!

  3. Ashley, I found a link to your blog while checking out your Facebook page (not a stalker, I swear), and I'm so glad that I did! It was great to hang out with you guys on Saturday night, and I am so touched by your writing and your heartfelt intentions here. Our son will be two this week, and when people ask me what I want him to be I always say the same thing: "Kind." I would LOVE to be a part of the Cincinnati Kindness Movement, and think we sort of are already. * Mel Reynolds

    1. I'll get you on the Movement! We'd love to have you and your family!

  4. Reading the acts of kindness here always inspires me. Keep on practicing kindness and inspire more people. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story.

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