During the previous two weeks I have been watching my beautiful new granddaughter, Laney Marie, while her Mom & Dad have been working. It really brought home how much I have missed with the death of Patience Lynn. I have wondered a lot of things looking into the eyes of the next generation of women as I played with Laney. The thing I thought of the most is this, “How will I ever convey to this beautiful, little face how truly wonderful her Aunt Ashleigh was as a person?” I don’t want Ashleigh’s story to only consist of violence, murder, & death. For a year and a half now I have been the barer of that story and have been blessed to see the lives it has changed. Here is the thing…….Ashleigh Lindsey was NOT that story! Ashleigh was sensitive, warm, vivacious, kind, stubborn, & caring person I’ve ever known. Ashleigh was ALIVE!!! When I started doing the Acts of Kindness it transformed me because finally I was getting out Ashleigh’s story of her life. Then it hit me……Laney will know her Aunt Ashleigh by what I teach her thru kindness for others. Now that is a Legacy!
So, now the question is, as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles etc…….how do we teach the next generation kindness? When I was a child my Mom used to stress the “Golden Rule”. Do unto others as you would have done to you. Seems very straight forward, simple and to the point. But I remember as a child, “But that boy is really mean. Since he is cruel and always a bully, does that mean that is what he wanted returned to him?” I knew I didn’t want to be treated unkindly but did I have to be kind to the mean girls who called me names? As a child I had stuck in my head that because I was kind then others should be kind back. Well, life doesn’t work that way. As a parent, I saw my daughter Ashleigh struggle with the same thinking. This is when I began to stress doing Random Acts of Kindness with my girls. By showing Ashleigh that you can change everything with a person that you did not even know and walk away content that it was your heart you gave that day was a game changer for her and her life. She began doing what came naturally to her heart and that is why so many people loved her so very much.
What about our children in general? Sometimes I think we expect our children to be naturally kind but in fact like any other personality trait, only a few have kindness as a natural part of their personality. Children seem more likely not to be kind. My own life experiences have got me thinking that teaching children the value of Random Acts of Kindness is the greatest gift we can give them. It is an unconditional share of love from ones heart. It is the ultimate Legacy!
Try these things with your kids.
1. Smile at five strangers
2. Hold the door open for someone
3. Help a neighbor with light yard work
4. Let someone go in front of you in line
5. Return a shopping cart
6. Pick up trash in your neighborhood
7. Wash a car
8. Say good morning to people
9. Complain less
10. Make someone laugh
11. Share a toy
12. Be a positive person
13. Compliment a friend
Now my big announcement……….
Operation: Share Ashleigh’s Heart is expanding into a new program for the Ashleigh’s Patience Project. We are turning it into an educational program for our teens. This is how APP is structuring the new project. This fall we will be going into schools, youth groups etc….to do Dating Violence awareness with our teens and offer training to our teachers, and ministers, clergy etc…….on what to do when a dating abuse occurs with young people.. Then our second step is to help organize a student club with a teacher sponsor to help met the needs of our students. The student club members will have training about how to help peers who are in dating abuse situations and they can help facilitate the next steps that their peers should take. Often teens will talk to their friends about these situations before an adult and most of their friends have no idea what choices there are for them as young people. I want to bridge that gap. We will offer a list of suggested community involvement for the group. This will be things like Food drive for the local women’s shelter ect….and this can help with their college resumes that require community points for entrance. Lastly, there will be the 21 Day Challenge. As a promotion of the Club within the schools the student members will sponsor from March 1st-21st the list of Ashleigh’s Random Acts of Kindness as the 21 Day Challenge to do all 21 on the list. (That is one a day) In honor of not only Ashleigh but all victims who have been killed. This will encourage the student body as a whole to concentrate on Love & Kindness yet raise awareness of abuse within relationships in a positive form.
Yes, it is big plans……I’m extremely excited. We are going to start scheduling schools now for the fall semester. If you would like to have this program in your school please, have the school contact us. If you’re with a youth group we can start scheduling you now. Looking forward to what God bring me with this new chapter in the APP organization.