celebrate kindness

Posts Tagged ‘games

For the past few weeks, our three year old has been mesmerized by the Chuck E. Cheese commercials on TV, where “a kid can be a kid!” He gazes longingly at all the fun the children are having then turns to us and proclaims, “I want to be a kid, too!” Every time he says this, it makes us laugh. Of COURSE you want to be a kid! You are one!

We finally carved enough time in our busy schedule to make his wish come true, because every kid deserves to be a kid at least once, right? Little did we know at this time, but this would be a perfect opportunity to bless others (and be blessed ourselves!)

We decided to make it a dinner event, so upon entering Chuck E. Cheese, we ordered a large pizza for the kids and the salad buffet for ourselves. I didn’t have a coupon for the buffet (only for tokens), but the generous cashier said, “I’ll just give you the discount price anyway!” How sweet! It put a smile on my face to be on the receiving end of a RAK.

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As I returned to the buffet for another amazing salad, a lady tapped me on the shoulder. “Would you like to have this? We are leaving and don’t have time to use it.” She handed me a coupon for 10 free tokens! Another random act of kindness received! Wow! Twice in one night! What a pleasant surprise!

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It was then that I knew it was my turn to pass along the blessings to others. I put my salad on the table and joined the long cashier’s line to claim my free tokens. As I got closer to the front of the line, I noticed a boy wearing all red standing to the side, shifting from one foot to the other. It appeared that he was waiting for his turn to get tokens, too, as I saw him folding and unfolding a dollar bill while he waited. He never once tried to push his way in front of anyone, but he also didn’t join the back of the line and wait his turn. He simply stood there, in the front, moving from side to side, almost willing someone to have mercy on him and let him in.

That person was me. ūüôā

“Why don’t you go next? You’ve been waiting quite a while!” His grin spoke volumes of appreciation. And sure enough, he was getting tokens. Four golden tokens in exchange for his crumpled dollar bill.

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A few moments later, I was exiting the line, 10 tokens in hand, ready to pass along my blessings. Remembering the squeals of delight my children would share when they found an unexpected coin in an arcade, I decided to leave my tokens on popular games, right in plain sight, ready to be discovered by children young and old.

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The best part of this random act of kindness was observing my tokens being discovered by children. As expected, there were smiles and squeals of delight! Mission accomplished! One girl, who used my token to play Skeeball, turned to her mom and dad and proudly said, “Look at all my tickets! And I got them all for free!”

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I think my favorite moment of the night came when I saw a young girl gazing longingly at the Cinderella coach, complete with a pair of majestic horses ready to pull the princess anywhere her heart desired. The girl walked around the ride at least twice when I leaned down and asked, “Would you like to be a princess and ride on this?” Her eyes grew wide as I handed her my very last token. “Go ahead. It’s OK! Put the token in the slot and you can ride.” She put her Barney doll down long enough to use the token, then grabbed him again and settled down for the ride. Her smile was simply priceless!

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As I stood there, watching all the children enjoy “just being a kid”, I felt the now familiar lump in my throat as my thoughts traveled yet again to those precious children from Sandy Hook Elementary. It made me want to hug my own children so tightly and never let go.

Tonight I dedicate this act of kindness to Charlotte Bacon, age 6, a “sweet, outgoing and full of energy” little girl with a head of beautiful red curls. I am sure she would have loved to share the joy of just being a kid with others.

Be blessed and remember… opportunities to bless others might just begin when you find yourself being blessed instead!

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Last night I decided to celebrate the life of James Mattioli, age 6. I discovered through the internet that he was actually 6 and 3/4 and was “quick to remind everyone” of his exact age. Like many boys his age, he was active. He loved playing outside. Riding his bike. Swimming. He enjoyed playing inside, too, especially on his iPad. I learned that he was born four weeks early and his family would joke it was because he was hungry. Apparently James loved to eat, too, lol.

As I was standing in line with my family at Stevie B’s, a local all-you-can-eat pizza buffet, I began to think of James and how much he would love this restaurant. Endless rows of pizza with combinations galore. You could even request your own pizza to be made just to your specifications. In the back of the restaurant was a small arcade/game room where children could use tokens like quarters and earn tickets from various games of skill and luck to be traded in for trinkets and prizes. Yes, it’s hard to think of any child that wouldn’t want to come here for dinner.

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My thoughts were interrupted by the cashier’s friendly voice. “Would you like to buy some game tokens with your dinner?” We always get game tokens (although we try to teach our children the value of money by having them purchase their own tokens from time to time.) This evening, I bought three packs of tokens: one for my son, one for my daughter, and one for James.

As the cashier handed me my charge receipt to sign, I returned one container of tokens with my #26acts card and said, “Please hand this to the next person who comes in line to purchase tokens for their child. It’s a random act of kindness for James.” The cashier paused as she read my card, obviously surprised, and replied, “Yes… yes… wow, that is really sweet.” I made sure to put James’ EXACT age on the card, too. ūüôā

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A little while later, as we were finishing our mealtime and about to head home, I walked back to the arcade/game room. It was a very small room, but alive with sparkling lights, bells and whistles, and happy smiles all around. The redemption counter was surrounded by children, all about the age of James, patiently waiting their turn to transfer tickets into prizes. I felt a lump in my throat as I thought of my own children who love coming here and playing the games. Ordinarily the bright lights and giddy chatter might give me a headache, but tonight it was pure bliss. Oh, to be a child again, without a care in the world. Such pure and innocent joy.

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For the person who received my random act of kindness tonight, I hope your child spun the big wheel and landed on the jackpot, receiving 100 tickets with the cost of only one token. Please share your joy by paying it forward. For James, I hope your memory will live on in the smiles and laughter of others as they remember what it’s like to be a child.

Be blessed my friends and be inspired! ūüôā

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind with vacations and end-of-summer activities.¬† Despite the craziness this time of year brings into my life (and the lives of others!) I’ve had an amazing opportunity to observe kindness in others:

  • Two friends posted stories of kindness on their Facebook pages (Click here to read their status updates.)¬† Amazing!¬† Stories such as these make me wish I had an endless supply¬†of money to surprise and bless others unexpectedly.
  • While at the beauty salon, I looked out the window and observed an elderly gentleman opening the car door for his wife (in the rain, mind you).
  • Standing in a very long restroom line at an amusement park, the person at the front of the line allowed a mom with a young child to go first instead of herself.
  • People held doors open for those walking behind them (and helped¬†parents, like me,¬†trying to maneuver through an entry way with a child in a stroller.)
  • People picked up trash on the ground and placed in trashcans.
  • Several drivers¬†showed patience and kindness by allowing others to get in front of them in the midst of two separate traffic jams.
  • Coworkers offered¬†to drive when going to the same location for lunch.
  • Two people brought over fresh fruit and¬†vegetables from their garden “just because”.
  • Several friends¬†sent emails, notes and messages just to let¬†others know they were thinking of them.

Wow!  What a blessed week indeed!  There is SO MUCH kindness out there if we just take the time to SEE!

My favorite story of observing kindness in others happened between my two¬†oldest¬†children.¬† It was the last “official” day of summer break (as I was returning to work the next day) and I offered to play board games with them in the afternoon when the youngest child was napping.¬† “Today is YOUR day!¬† You each get your very own “Mommy Time” this afternoon!¬† Choose a board game, any game you want, and I will play with you!”¬† Now, if you know our family, you know we have a TON of board games.¬† Scrabble.¬† Sorry.¬† Clue.¬† Monopoly.¬† Triominoes.¬† Mouse Trap.¬† Checkers.¬† Apples to Apples.¬† You name it, we probably have it.¬† In fact, we have SO many board games that we actually converted one of our coat closets into a game closet just to make the games more accessible to the children.

Having three children with ages ranging 2 to 13 makes playing games as a family a bit challenging.¬† The older children LOVE having “Mommy Time” for game playing because all my attention is focused on them, and them alone.¬† I knew my pronouncement of “Mommy Time Game Day” would garnish cheers and excitement from the children.¬† As both children started thinking about which game they wanted to play, I reminded them that because it was THEIR time, they could choose to play a game with just me, or with me and their sibling (knowing, of course, that they would choose to play with just me because it was, after all, Mommy Time!)

So you can imagine my surprise (and delight!) when BOTH children chose their favorite game and said they wanted their sibling to play as well.  What fun!  We could all play together!  We played three rounds of Twister and one (very long) game of Life.

No one was left out and our afternoon was filled with laughter and joy.¬† Even when my daughter was crowned Life¬†Millionaire, my son handled the disappointment with kindness by saying, “That’s OK.¬† Maybe I’ll win next time.”

Kindness in others.¬† It’s amazing how inspiring it can be.¬† Just a little shift in perspective can make such a difference in your disposition.¬†¬†This week I have tried to focus¬†my attention on the GOOD things people are doing and I have to say it has made me a happier gal indeed!

We all have choice.¬† Free-will.¬†¬†We have a choice to focus on the negative or the positive.¬†¬†I challenge you¬†this week to shift your perspective to the positive and share what you see!¬† Kindness is contagious!¬† ūüôā


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