CANADA: Helping Through Kindness

CANADA: Helping Through Kindness

kindnessIn the wake of the devastating tragedy that struck Orlando early on Sunday morning, I have seen and heard all of the usual arguments. Gun control activists are insisting that America has a gun problem, gun rights activists are denying that America has a gun problem, conspiracy theorists are perpetuating all kinds of bizarre stories, and people are saying terrible things about other people.

49 people lost their lives in Orlando on that terrible day, and another 53 were injured. Countless other lives were forever changed. And yet the arguing, judging and hate seem to have eclipsed the human impact of this tragedy.

In the midst of all this noise, my ten-year-old son asked me a question that stopped me in my tracks.

“How can we help?”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“All those people who are sad and hurt. There must be a way to help them.”

At the risk of using a cliché, I was moved to tears. While adults who are supposedly wiser than kids were bashing each other on the Internet, a child was very eloquently stating what is really important: people are hurting and in need of help.

That is what we should be focusing on. In the immediate aftermath of a tragedy, our priority should be the survivors and the families of the deceased. We need to do what we can to enable the injured to heal and the bereaved to bury their loved ones. We should be banding together to lift up those who have had their world ripped out from beneath their feet.

After some discussion, my son answered his own question about how to help.

“Just be kind.”

Because any act of kindness to the people in our immediate circles can have a ripple effect.

Recipients of kindness are far more likely to be kind themselves. My son is growing up with the belief that if he treats others with respect and empathy, if he speaks out against injustice and stands up for those who are being discriminated against, he can make a difference.

And maybe, in making that difference, he can plants seeds of new hope in the hearts of people who have been affected by tragedies.

How have your kids reacted to the shooting in Orlando? How do you talk to them about tragic events like this?

This is an original post to World Moms Network by Kirsten Doyle of Toronto, Canada. Photo credit: Feed My Starving Children. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.

Kirsten Doyle (Canada)

Kirsten Doyle was born in South Africa. After completing university, she drifted for a while and finally washed up in Canada in 2000. She is Mom to two boys who have reached the stage of eating everything in sight (but still remaining skinny). Kirsten was a computer programmer for a while before migrating into I.T. project management. Eventually she tossed in the corporate life entirely in order to be a self-employed writer and editor. She is now living her best life writing about mental health and addictions, and posting videos to two YouTube channels. When Kirsten is not wrestling with her kids or writing up a storm, she can be seen on Toronto's streets putting many miles onto her running shoes. Every year, she runs a half-marathon to benefit children with autism, inspired by her older son who lives life on the autism spectrum. Final piece of information: Kirsten is lucky enough to be married to the funniest guy in the world. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Be sure to check out her YouTube channels at My Gen X Life and Word Salad With Coffee!

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HUMAN RIGHTS: A Voice for Children in Vietnam

HUMAN RIGHTS: A Voice for Children in Vietnam

Photo of writer holding and meeting her son for the first time in the orphanage in Saigon, Vietnam.

On a hot, steamy day in August of 2008, my husband and I stepped off of an airplane in Saigon, Vietnam.   Mere moments after touching down in this faraway land, we found ourselves standing outside of an orphanage in the sweltering summer heat, waiting to meet someone we had only seen in pictures.

And that’s when it happened; my life changed in two very important ways. An eleven-month old child was placed into my arms, and in an instant I was simultaneously transformed into a first-time mother as well as an advocate for the voiceless children of the world.

Looking back, it is hard to believe that such a profound change in how I defined myself could have happened in a single, solitary moment.  Months later I would realize how that one moment would end up overthrowing and redirecting the entire trajectory of my life.

After returning home, I started thinking about all the children we had seen in Vietnam, especially the ones residing in the orphanage. Once you see their faces, you cannot forget them.  Those of us in the international adoption community know this truth all too well: life in an orphanage is hard, and it can be devastating physically, emotionally and mentally.

As I witnessed my son struggle through his own post-institutional trauma, it seemed that I carried the images of his orphanage mates with me constantly.  I would stare at my son and be overtaken with a sense of responsibility to help take care of those we left behind. I had no idea where to start. I began researching about the plight of children, families and orphans in Vietnam. (more…)

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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