Monday, September 25, 2017

Monday PositivitTEE

I am so excited to have Sheila Kennedy as a guest blogger for Kindness180. We met on social media ands is always spreading positivity. Recently we were at a speakers retreat together and she shared with me how she started Monday PositiviTEE. I immediately thought that this would be the perfect Kindness180 challenge. Spreading kindness through a simple t-shirt can make a huge impact on those around you. Let's hear from Sheila herself! 
(Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @4sheilak)

Monday PositiviTEE
Have you ever longed for the weekend to last a little longer?  I hear it so many times:  the Sunday night blues, the Monday morning blues, the weekend went by too fast, not wanting the weekend to end; so many people share their feelings about the “dreaded work week” and not wanting to go to work on Monday. I can sympathize - get it, I really do, BUT I’m here to share with you how I used the Power of Positivity to put a positive spin on all of this and uplift those that are having a hard time with Monday mornings.  
I guess I should first give you a little background and introduce myself…it all began with my love obsession of positive quotes and inspirational tees; I can't seem to have enough...I mean who doesn't love a good quote, right? Anyone else? Anyway, I’m Sheila Kennedy and I am an energetic first grade teacher and applied positive psychology practitioner. While getting certified I was finally able to discover what makes me happy and uncover my purpose; my passion is positive psychology and my purpose is sharing this information with others.  Through the use of gratitude, kindness and a love of learning, I am doing just that!  

So back to the Monday mornings and my love for t-shirts with positive and inspiring messages… Last year I had often wore one to school on dress down Fridays with a pair of jeans but later decided to start wearing them to school on Monday mornings to spread a positive message at the start of the week rather than the end.  The message on these shirts put me in such a good mood and I wanted to share the effect of these printed words with others - words are so powerful! (The ease of finding something to wear Monday morning by selecting one of my many t-shirts didn’t hurt either – what a bonus, lol!)

When others would comment about a shirt I was wearing, I found myself sharing the power of positivity with them; how it can have an effect on our thoughts, our words and in our actions.  I began to realize that my positive message t-shirts were beginning to have a purpose; wearing a shirt with a positive message not only made me feel good when I looked in the mirror but the message was also on display for everyone I came into contact with. It didn’t matter whether they read it and reacted with a smile or read it and the message unconsciously went into their mind, what DID matter was that either way, those words were having the power to send messages to their brain which, in turn, reacted in a positive way with their body and their overall well-being.

As a result, sending a positive message to others through wearing an inspirational t-shirt became a ritual every Monday at Tinicum School. Now as I walked through the hallways of school, those who were dreading coming in in the morning were now greeted with a powerful and uplifting message, which often caused them to smile or to at least be curious about what my shirt said.  The shirts also became teachable mini-lessons with my first graders; they even began looking forward to seeing what Monday message I'd be wearing...students excited to come to school on a Monday morning? YES!!  So I turned it into a great kick off to my Monday morning meeting topic. As a class we’d discuss the message on my shirt- what it means, how it can affect each of us in our lives and how we can go out and spread positivity and kindness through taking actions based on the message.  As a teacher, a parent, and most importantly, a fellow human being, I believe THIS is what we want more of in our world!!

As the school year progressed, what happened next was proof of how positivity is not only powerful but it’s also contagious; my grade partner Emily began buying and wearing positive shirts on Mondays too, and then students began wearing them! Before I knew it, there were other teachers and staff members in my building asking where I had purchased my shirts because they wanted to start wearing positive messages on Monday as well.  When I was facilitating professional development, I began sharing this with them as well and the response was overwhelming…they wanted to bring the idea back to their schools too!  There is so much truth to the saying “We rise by uplifting others” for I have witnessed it with my own two eyes and felt it within my teacher heart.  Not only were the adults and children in my school being positively affected, but the school culture was too!
Seeing so many negative posts on social media about people having to show up for work on Monday, as well as so many inspiring and uplifting images on social media for Motivational Monday, I decided to combine the two.  I am so grateful for the teacher community on social media, I have connected with so many kind-hearted and inspiring educators (including Staci who I can now call a friend in real life) so I turned to Instagram to take action.  Inspired by what Greg @kindergartensmorgasboard and Kayla @topdogteaching started with their idea of posting positive things happening in our classrooms with the hashtag #happyclassrooms and posting about being like a "shark" on Mondays, I decided to begin sharing what I was wearing on Monday mornings by posting on Instagram with the hashtag #MondayPositiviTEE.  Why not embrace the opportunity to uplift and inspire teachers & students alike with the combined powers of positivity and social media?  So now on my Instagram, @4SheilaK, not only do I post a picture but I often also try to tie it into a positive psychology topic that is research based.  Included in the post is also a shout out to where the shirt may be purchased – just another way of spreading kindness and showing gratitude by hoping to pay it forward to the businesses making the shirts.

It’s been a great way to start off the school week with positivity.  I'd love to see some of your positive & inspirational t-shirts so be sure to post a picture when you wear one and include the hashtag #MondayPositiviTEE.  Spread some love by tagging where the tee came from too.  I’m thrilled that Staci will be turning this idea into one of her #Kindness180 challenges…let’s go spread kindness!!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Double Doozie Moment

I created Kindness180 this summer so I can grow professionally and personally. Here is one thing that I noticed.  It is really easy to show kindness when you are in good mood, things are going your way,  and when life isn't stressful. However, if we are really honest with ourselves it is hard to show kindness when life is stressful, when we have a bad day, or when things never seem to go right.

Before I share my experience keep one thing in mind. When we are creating blog posts or posting on social media it is very tempting to only share how great things are going. It is a little more difficult to share when we don't have it all together or when we are less than perfect. However, Kindness180 isn't about perfection. It is about growing. We grow when we can admit our faults and learn from them. 

So here we go. I have two words for you....Double Doozie. 

A Double Doozie is the most amazing cookie in the world. If you have never had a double doozie you are missing out on one of the greatest shopping mall treats EVER! So let me back track a bit. 

I was having a hard day. I hardly slept the night before, and it was just one thing after another from the moment I walked into the school building. I was putting out one fire after another. I had several discipline issues before the bell even rang, my own personal child was having issues at school. I had an upset parent who was justified in their frustration, but I was having difficulty resolving the situation. My principal was gone and I had questions coming in that only she could answer. Then I get a call that I needed to do some blood work for an upcoming procedure and it had be done THAT day, and the lab was 2 hours away one way. We live in a rural community and that was the closest lab that I could go to. I had to leave work early to get to the lab before it closed and this was just one of those days that I really couldn't leave early, but I didn't have a choice. I left work stressed and everything that needed to be done was weighing down on me. 

I make it to the lab on time for my 20 second blood draw, and then start to drive the 2 hours back home. I decided to take a detour and went to the mall to do some retail therapy. I bought some really cute converse shoes, because shoes always make a girl feel better right? Not today it didn't.  I could still feel myself on edge. 
Image result for shiny green converse

As I begin to leave the mall I  decided I would grab some Chick- Fil- A at the food court for dinner before I drove home. As I was leaving Chick -Fil- A, I turned around and there it was. The Great American Cookie Company, who made the greatest dessert of all time the DOUBLE DOOZIE! 

Image result for double doozie

If you have never had a double doozie you are missing out. It is two perfect cookies with frosting in the middle. It is by far my favorite dessert! After a long tiring day I just knew the Double Doozie was what I needed to brighten my day. I mean the new converse helped but the Double Doozie was the real answer.
 *I am rereading this and I know I sound ridiculous. It sounds like I am obsessed with Double Doozies and well I kind of am! *

So anyway.... I pick out the perfect Double Doozie and hand the cashier my debit card to pay for my $2.29 Double Doozie. She asks for my ID. No problem, I go to grab it and it's not there! I must have left it back home, which was 2 hours away, and of course I don't have any cash. I look at her and tell her that I don't have my ID. She said she had to have it or no Double Doozie. What? You mean to tell me I can't have my Double Doozie. The thing that was suppose to bring me happiness after a long day. 
*Rereading again and I know I sound like a crazy person but well I wanted that Double Doozie* 

Something comes over me. It was like an out of body experience. The stress of the day, the lack of sleep, the 4 hour round trip for a 20 second blood draw finally does me in. I furrow my brow, my accent gets real thick (which happens when I am being sassy) and I then look at her and say, "You mean to tell me I am not going to get the Double Doozie because I don't have my ID. If I stole this debit card I would be buying something way more expensive than a $2.29 double doozie." She told me yes that was correct and that is policy. I then went onto tell her that "I do not like your  policy and that it is.....stupid." I KNOW I KNOW!! AHH!!  What has come over me?! 

At this point I am not showing Kindness. I am overly stressed, overly tired, and I just want my DOUBLE DOOZIE! It is already late and I still have a 2 hour drive home. I leave (or more like marched off) get to my car and immediately feel bad. Here I am doing a Kindness180 challenge every day and I lose it because I didn't get my Double Doozie. On most days not getting my double doozie wouldn't have been a big deal. I would have just gone to the ATM in the food court, grabbed some cash, and then go back to pay for it, but not on this day. On this day I chose not to show kindness. 

I sat in my car reflecting on what just happened. Did I really just let my southern sass take over because of a double doozie?  I mean they are amazing but come on. I knew that I needed to figure out how to show kindness even when I am overly tired and stressed, because it's not an excuse to be unkind. Remember the 180 in Kindness180 is about changing your mindset on when to show kindness. We not only show kindness when everything is going perfectly. We have to show kindness even when everything is falling apart. This. Is. TOUGH. It is not easy to be positive when you are stressed and nothing seems to be going right. However we must be different. We must be able to show kindness no matter what situation we are in. 

As I sat and reflected about what just happened I kept thinking about my friend Sheila Kennedy. She spreads positivity daily. She has shared with me how positive thinking has helped her through some really difficult times. Way more difficult then not getting a Double Doozie cookie. *Sheila will be writing a guest blog post very soon on the power of positivity. 

We must practice having a positive attitude in order to show kindness to others. WHAT we tell ourselves in difficult situations makes a difference in HOW we respond during those same situations. 

Having a POSITIVE attitude is an essential piece in spreading kindness. 

Positive thinking can have a huge impact on our mental and emotional health. It can reduce stress and help us through difficult situations. If I had more of a positive attitude on the day that "Double Doozie Gate" occurred then I may have not have been so stressed out that I took out my frustration on someone who was simply doing their job. If I am truly honest with myself, I wasn't upset about not getting the delicious dessert. I was upset because it was just another thing that didn't go my way that day and I didn't take it too well. 

We have to TRAIN  ourselves  to have a positive mindset.

When someone decides to run a marathon they  train for months. They don't simply say, "I am going to run a marathon today." What would happen if they did that? For starters they won't make it very far. As soon as it gets difficult they will quit. When training for a marathon, you start off small. You may run a mile or two when you first start training. When your body is able to handle that then you increase your mileage. While you are slowly training your body you are also training your mind to push through the pain and the mental blocks. The slow and steady training that gradually increases in difficulty allows that person to run the big race. 

It is the same thing when you are training your mind to have a positive mindset. Don't wait to practice positivity when you are put in a difficult situation. Start by noticing the small things. Many people do this with a gratitude journal. The first thing they do when they wake up is write 3 things they are grateful for. This starts off the day with a positive mindset. Train yourself all day every day to have positive thoughts so when you are faced a particularly stressful day you are able to face it with grace and with a positive attitude. 

Let's be real. We ALL have had a Double Doozie moment. We may say or do something when we are stressed that we aren't particularly proud of. We must train ourselves to have a POSITIVE mindset in order to show kindness to everyone, even during the difficult times. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Kindness180 in Schools Pt.1

The beauty of Kindness180 is you can implement it however feel is best for your campus. Over the next few days I will explain how we are using it on our campus. If you feel like you want to implement Kindness180 the way we are doing it at our school that's great! You may like how we are doing it but may want to tweak a little bit and that is great too! Or you may want to go a completely different direction. Guess what? That's great! Whatever you decide to do please share it with us! You can comment below or use the hashtag #kindness180 when you post on Instagram or Twitter. We would love to hear your ideas and how you are using Kindness180 in your school.

At our school we started the Kindness180 challenges in the classroom. We have asked that each of our teachers do at least 5 kindness challenges between now and Christmas. That averages to one a month. They of course are welcome to do more! In fact many of our teachers are well on their way to do more than 5 challenges for the semester. Below is the sheet that we have asked our teachers to fill out after they have completed a challenge.

The teachers introduces the challenge to their class and the class completes the challenge. When the challenge is complete the class comes back together and discuss how the challenge went. The goal is to teach kids to show kindness to each other, even with the simplest acts.

Funny Story:
I was talking to one of my 1st grade teachers today and she challenged her class to play with someone new at recess. After recess she was pleased when each child said they had completed the challenge. When she started asking more questions about who they played with she discovered that every single student played with their cousin (we are a small town and there is only one elementary school). She had the students do it again but this time she challenged them to play with someone they have never met before. When they came back in from recess the second time each one of the students had indeed played with someone new that was not their cousin. Gotta love our sweet 1st graders!

How are you completing the Kindness180 challenges as a school? Please comment below!


This post is short and sweet!  


Have you read Lead like a Pirate? If not, you need to! Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf are the authors of Lead Like a Pirate and are leader Superheroes! Their book is simply amazing and I am currently reading it for the second time!

About a month ago I wrote a guest blog post for their blog, over Kindness180. You can read the post here. In this post I explain exactly what Kindness180 is and  how I am implementing it at my school. I hope you will join our challenge and be sure to use the hashtag #kindness180 when you post on Instagram or Twitter so we can see all of the amazing things you are doing!

Up Next: Tips to Implementing #kindness180 in your classroom!