Thursday 3: Random Acts of Kindness

No need to check your calendar.  I know it isn’t Thursday.  I’ve been dealing with computer issues all week, and it has made keeping up with my blog schedule a bit tricky.  But I didn’t want to let Random Acts of Kindness Week slip by without any mention after my colleague brought it to my attention on Books in Bloom, so here is a belated Thursday 3.

Three Small Ways to Be Kind This Week (and beyond):

  • treatsomeoneShare your books.  This reminds me that I have been sorely neglecting the Little Free Library in my neighborhood.  Something about the weather lately has kept me from walking by it as often as I used to.  I will have to change that today.  I love leaving a book or two on my way to the store and noticing that the book is already gone when I walk by on my way home.  If you don’t have a Little Free Library nearby, you might send your books with our troops overseas with Operation Paperback, which was recently featured on The Blogunteer.
  • Treat someone.  My company treated us to Valentine’s Day cupcakes this past week, and I treated my 5 year-old to the heart-shaped ring from my cupcake.  Everyone was happy.  I’m thinking of who I might treat today.
  • Say something nice.  Positivity and appreciation are always great. If you need a little inspiration to see the positive, check out Ten Things I Love About You by Daniel Kirk (because picture books are the answer to everything in my world), in which two friends manage to see the positive qualities in each other even when you think they are getting on each other’s nerves.  It’s a lesson story, but it has the comedic timing to make it gentle enough to open a discussion with little kids about friendship issues.

Or just smile.  It’s good for you.  :)

 

Happy Random Acts of Kindness Week!

Other posts about kindness: Choosing Kind and In the Spirit of Kindness

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In the Shadows…

Happy Halloween, everyone!  There is a lot going on this weekend–some great parties and concerts for grown-ups and fun events for families.  Check out Citypages Halloween for a pretty complete listing of what’s happening yet today and tomorrow.

As for us, we went to the library.  I hate to be predictable, but the Walker Branch of the Hennepin County Library held a shadow puppet program for kids yesterday during which we got to see lots of interesting puppets in the collection of local educator Shelley Itman.  The show, Hansel and Gretel, was pretty creepy without scaring the kids, and Ladybug was excited to make her own shadow puppet afterwards.

The library is also offering adults an opportunity to learn about shadow puppets in a “Library Lab” class about animation in collaboration with the Science Museum of Minnesota.  Next Saturday, November 5th.  Register here.

I have long been fascinated with cut-paper illustrations in picture books.  Nikki McClure is a particular favorite illustrator of mine.  Her work in Mama, Is It Summer Yet? is lovely.  I blogged about reading it last spring.

But a recent TED Talk took me beyond the world of picture books to a place where cut-paper becomes art & storytelling in many different contexts–from the cape the artist wears as she walks on stage to permanent installations around the world.  This is well worth watching for those interested in what you can do with scissors and paper.

Steven Pinker to speak at the Twin Cities Book Fest

I have yet to read Steven Pinker‘s Better Angels of Our Nature, but I must admit, I’m intrigued.  The book, which just released last week, argues that violence is on the decline.  The world is not going to hell after all.  We’re much safer now than we were at various points throughout history.  He begins the book’s preface (reprinted on the NY Times) with these words,

“This book is about what may be the most important thing that has ever happened in human history.  Believe it or not-and I know that most people do not-violence has declined over long stretches of time, and today we may be living in the most peaceable era in our species’ existence.”

This is a bold statement, and not everyone agrees as this review by psychologist Robert Epstein points out. The Guardian‘s review is more favorable.  Whether or not I end up agreeing with his thesis, the idea sounds fascinating, and I am interested in what he has to say.  His TED Talk from 2007 may provide an introduction to the book for those who haven’t the time for a 700-some page book.

If you’re in the Twin Cities, you can hear Steven Pinker speak at the Twin Cities Book Festival this Saturday.

 

See more posts about science, religion, and secular family life on my Secular Thursday page.

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