May 10, 2016

Parenthood & Kindness Series with Lowanda from Sunshine and Elephants

I’m so excited to kick off my Parenthood and Kindness series with Lowanda from Sunshine and Elephants. Reading her interview just emphasizes why I wanted to start this discussion with parents, in the first place. Her heartfelt thoughts and personal experiences really get to the root of what kindness should entail—good intentions and a selfless heart. Read on to see her take on parenthood and kindness.

Tells us the kindest thing you’ve ever experienced as a parent?
There are a whole host of things that would fit here.

The day I became a parent and God blessing me and entrusting me to be the mom to my boys.

Every time someone tells me you’ve done a great job raising your boys and that they are so well behaved.

After writing the above, one special thing came to mind. (I’m getting emotional). My dear friend,
LaGayla, gave up her Wednesday evenings one semester to keep my boys for me while I attended
graduate school. She did this out of the kindness of her heart and never asked for anything in return. The reason I got emotional is because LaGayla is now an angel in heaven. She passed away in October of 2011. I truly miss her and think of her every single day. Thank you LaGayla for always being there for

Who/what inspires you to be kind? Explain why they/it inspires you to do so
I would have to say that my father inspires me to be kind through his actions and words. I’m a daddy’sgirl at heart and I truly look up to my father. He is the kindest man I know. My father will go out of his way for anyone. He is an honorary father to so many people, including the kids in his neighborhood.

It’s important to be kind to others, but it’s just as important to be kind to yourself. What do you do (or plan on doing) to be kind to yourself (either as a mother, as a professional, or as a woman)?
I attend church regularly to receive my spiritual blessing and this guides my path through life. I try my best to stay active which is not hard to do since I’m such a people person. I love to socialize and gather with others. I was originally scheduled to go on a cruise with some friends, but just recently had to cancel. I do plan to schedule a special outing with them this summer. I have not gone on a true vacation in years and I plan to reward myself with one in the upcoming year. I’m working on being kinder to my body by improving my overall health by exercising more.
It’s often said that kindness is easier said than done. As a parent, what valuable advice can you give for showing kindness to others (especially to those who may not seem like they want or deserve it)?
I would have to disagree with the last statement. Everyone deserves kindness. Even the meanest person in the world deserves kindness. It could be that their behavior is the way that it is because they were always treated unkindly and they don’t know how to be kind. I have come across many people that have a negative disposition and as my grandmother and others in my family have always said...Kill ‘em with kindness. Don’t let someone else steal your joy. Give them a smile and a kind word, you never know how it may change them.

As a parent, what does kindness mean to you?
Kindness to me is a way of life. It’s how you treat others through your actions and words. It can be little things like holding the door open for someone or just simply saying hello. It can be bigger things like placing coins in meters of parked cars. I have gone up to strangers and handed them coupons or store gift cards that are about to expire when I’m not able to find anything in the store. I will hand it to someone that is already in line and tell them to enjoy.

What lesson do you want your kids to learn about kindness?
Basically what I stated above: Kindness is a way of life! No action is too big or small and it just makes the world a better place.

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