Grocery shopping is a new stress in the time of social distancing. Especially if you are actually trying to practice social distancing. I start my social distancing in the parking lot. When I can, I park where no one is parking directly beside me. I walk into the store with a few of cleaning wipes and a bottle of hand sanitizer.
I am using the wipes to clean the grocery cart, to open doors and pick up items. When someone is in front of me, I keep a good distance from them. If they stop, I stop or I redirect. When I see someone coming toward me that is obviously not planning to follow the Social Distancing guidelines, I try to move in a direction as to not pass each other directly. Grocery shopping would be a lot less stressful if people would be more patient and make sure to leave at least three, preferably six, feet between themselves and others.
Starting today, we also have t-shirts and totes with the Essential Employee design below. So many Essential Employees, like my mother, are placing themselves in harms way because of their commitment to the health and well-beings of others. They also continue to work because of their commitment to themselves and their families. No Essential Employee should have to fight for a livable wage. Essential Employees should be paid for their Essential work.
Buy the essential worker in your life this special t-shirt and we will make a donation to help other essential workers. Place your order and we will email you to see if you have a specific fundraiser/organization/person that you would like the donation to go toward!
We are officially in week two of no school. Assignments for my middle schooler are piling up. I am behind on lessons with my second grade, special needs son. Even more, my middle schooler and forth grader have already had to be separate. However, I can still find ways to celebrate often – even now!
Stuck at Home
Having three sons – ages 12(E), 9(S), and 8(H) – in a three bedroom home means someone is sharing. Although I am grateful for the space we have, figuring out the best rooming arrangement has been difficult. For most of the time, E had his own room; while S and H shared a room. Last year, S was done with this arrangement! Since H is Autistic, his sleep pattern can unexpectedly become unpredictable. He might be up laughing or turning on lights at midnight. He would even climb up the bunk bed steps and bounce S awake, that is if he made it to sleep.
Eventually, we decided to move S into the room with E. It has “worked” for some month, although every couple of weeks or so they are fighting about something. But after last week’s pushing and hitting, E and S are in separate rooms. H is with me for now. H doesn’t seem to care about what changes we have going on. He keeps running to “his room” every night. So we are working on a few big adjustments right now. Regardless of the challenges, we can still celebrate!
Celebrate Often: Opportunities to Learn
Although I feel like my “home-schooling” abilities are lacking, I appreciated that this crisis has forced me to be even more hands-on with my sons’ education. It has been somewhat stressful, on top of my full time job, but it is also rewarding. E has lots of homework, but at least I know that he is turning it in . . . and not losing or forgetting it! As far as S, he has been more self-sufficient, but it has been nice to have a physical book to “teach” out of versus just going over homework.
H’s teacher gave me a Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) manual and H’s binder of pictures so I can work with him at home. I am very much excited to learn more in hopes to help his ability to communicate more effectively.
Furthermore, I started a free online course, The Science of Well-Being through Coursera.
Celebrate Often: Opportunities to Explore
Being stuck at home does not mean we cannot explore. Check out this list of virtual field trips, which also includes “lesson ideas, activities and book suggestions to extend the learning for each type of destination.” We have also used YouTube to explore one of my favorite aquariums, the Monterey Bay Aquarium (Monterey, CA), our favorite local museum, the Museum of Life and Science (Durham, NC), and our to-visit-once-we-can-travel-again, Stone Mountain State Park (Roaring Gap, NC).
Exploring does not have to be all about places. Explore your talents! Do you like to sketch, or up for a sketching challenge? Check out author/illustrator Remy Lai on Twitter (@Remy_Lai) for the #sketchwithremy theme of the day. You do not have to be a professional illustrator to participate, just have fun!
Further explore your creativity with downloadable activities from writer/illustrator Jarrett Lerner. You will find a variety of blank comic book pages, “Finish This Comic!” comics, and drawing/writing prompts. There is plenty to explore on this website!
Celebrate Often: Being Apart Brings Us Together
As we all experience this world-wide pandemic, we are able to witness people all over the world giving support in ways that may be unique to their regular lives. Authors are having online book readings to help bring comfort to us in our new reality. Neighborhoods are organizing bear and scavenger hunts to indirectly connect with and support each other.
One huge way that I witnessed people come together, in terms of numbers alone, was on Instagram. This weekend, DJ dnice hosted a nine hour ‘party’ for more than 100,000 of his “closest friends”! People from all over the world came together to dance, sing, or just listen together! It was a wonderful experience within a difficult time. I can imagine the people who got dressed up to “go to Club Quarantine”!
Support Not Mad. Motivated.
Times are difficult for so many people all around the world. We are Praying for everyone’s safety and well-being. You are not alone. Stay in contact with people. Check on each other. Everyone is in need of some type of support. Hopefully, this post have added a little something positive to your day. If so, leave a comment, subscribe to our newsletter and blog, or visit our shop to purchase Not Mad. Motivated. merchandise.
A few weeks ago, a stranger paid for my lunch. This random act of unexpected kindness was shocking. Had it not been for my temporary state of disbelief, I may had “paid it forward” immediately. However, this weekend, I saw the perfect opportunity for kindness in this current time of uncertainty.
I went to a store to buy a couple of items. During checkout, I noticed some bagged items had been left. I brought the bags to the attention of the cashier, hoping that no one left them accidentally. Afterwards, the cashier motioned toward the near-by customer using the phone. Then the cashier realized that the customer was attempting to use an EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer/ Food Stamp) card, which the store did not accept. As I finished my transaction, I quietly asked the balance of the other customer’s purchases and paid for it before they had the chance to leave the building.
Kindness is Contagious
Kindness is contagious! Although we will witness some ‘ugly’ acts such as hoarding needed supplies, we often see very beautiful acts of kindness during our most difficult times. We could never predict the exact affect of such actions. We cannot know with certainty how many lives a seemingly small act can touch. The recipient may pay-it-forward with kind words to a friend or an unexpected call to family member. Perhaps they will be encouraged to help an elderly or physically challenged person with a difficult task. Or just maybe, they become a little less bias because of receiving kindness from someone they normally would judge as ‘bad’.
Many of us are currently connected through the unprecedented times that we are currently in, but please remember that people all around the world are in crises and are suffering everyday. When new cases plateau and the threat level has receded, don’t forget to be kind to the man, woman, or child fleeing from extremely impoverished and/or war-torn countries. Do not forget to be kind to the activist fighting to improve the community of children who live in uncertainty everyday. Be kind to the homeless, even if it is just an acknowledging smile. Kindness is always needed!
Kindness in Action
I would love to hear from you! What are some acts of kindness that you have experienced?
Many of us are staying home more then usual. What are you watching, reading, or listening to in order to stay busy or entertained? What hobbies are you picking up? Which interests are you building upon?
A lot of us parents are overseeing school assignments that are usually completely at school. Teachers, what advice to you have for parents? What resources do you suggest? What special accommodations are you making for your students?
Some of us are cooking at home more. Are you trying any new meals? Do you have tips or recipes to share?
Let’s share and spread kindness!
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As always, we invite you to support Not Mad. Motivated. Please leave a comment, subscribe to our blog and/or newsletter. Visit our shop and help us spread the Not Mad. Motivated. mindset with every purchase of a t-shirt or tote. Our current inventory of youth size t-shirt are $10 online until they are gone. We only have six shirts in our smallest size, XS. Show your support by purchasing one today!
For weeks, the lyrics to Greatest Love of All have been playing in my mind often. I believe the children are our future. Really, I do. Teach them well and let them lead the way! We are constantly teaching the youth in our lives with our words and actions. Whether we like it or not, what we say or do to or around children can greatly influence our future leaders and communities. In other words, we can make a difference on how they view themselves and others, how they react to disappointments and difficulties, and how they celebrate accomplishments. So when we are around children, we should remember that we are teaching our future leaders!
Show them all the beauty they possess inside. Let us encourage the youth. Highlight their strengths, while advising them in areas that they have opportunities for growth.
Give Them a Sense of Pride to Make it Easier
A Little Bit of Everything: Hygiene
There is a segment in the Not Mad. Motivated. Newsletter called A Little Bit of Everything: Starting Conversations with the Youth in Our Lives. In our first issue, January 2020, our focus is on hygiene. Although most children learn about aspects of hygiene at an early age, it is important to keep those conversations going and the lines of communication open.
Talk about the different types of hygiene and the benefits of healthy practices. Discuss when and how to wash hands, clip nails, brush teeth, etc. Evaluate if skin and hair are getting moisturized properly. If there is physical evidence of the need for improvement, help pinpoint what is being done incorrectly. Revisiting these types of lessons can be very helpful.
Poor hygiene habits can also affect your self-esteem. Looking and feeling presentable can give you a confidence boost and a sense of pride in your appearance.
If necessary, establish a hygiene routine. Include tasks such as washing clothes, changing sheets, towels, and pillowcases, and cleaning living environment. These tasks are not just chores, they are extensions of our wellness habits.
A Little Bit of Everything: Following Instinct
Our second issue, February 2020, we are encouraged to speak to our youth about trusting their instinct. One way to do this is to talk to them about their feelings and to value the thoughts that they share. We have to help build their confidence while they are young so that they are better equip to make those hard decisions later.
Acknowledge their perspectives, and value their choices. Don’t fault them for trusting their own instincts, even if their choice doesn’t match yours.
Let the Children’s Laughter Remind Us How We Used To Be
No one has a perfect childhood. Therefore, being reminded of how things used to be may not always bring up the best memories. However, if your childhood is overshadowed by negativity, let the youth of today be your way to “make it right”. Be reminded of the good that you experienced. As far as the bad, be reminded of the love and compassion that you deserved! Let’s stop teaching our future leaders destructive cycles of hurt (disguised as anger) and abuse.
Home and school should be safe havens for our youth. Everybody’s searching for a hero. People need someone to look up to. Be that person that the youth in your life can look up to! We do not want to make “our children” look too far for a hero; they may find someone not worthy of that title. So be the model that they need to see.
Teaching Future Leaders: A Not Mad. Motivated. Point of View
My oldest son has been struggling academically, while my middle son struggles with behavior at times. Although there are some elements of each of these circumstances that have been frustrating, I have decided to get back to the basics! Starting with establishing better hygiene practices to build a solid foundation of confidence and self-esteem.
It could be easy to get upset and blame children for their challenges but I understand that their “failures” are really representations of my own failures. So I’m Not Mad. I am Motivated. I want to encourage my children, and any child, to look at their struggles as opportunities for solution. Above all, I want to inspire parents, teachers, and caregivers to model the Not Mad. Motivated. mindset to the children in their lives. We need to uplift our future leaders and accept that if they fail, it is because we failed them somewhere along the way.
Help us get the Not Mad. Motivated. message to communities across the country by purchasing a t-shirt or tote! We want to spread encouragement to people of all ages, but have a special interest in uplifting our young community. With this in mind, our youth size t-shirt will be sold at $10 each until we run out of our current inventory.