Give Thanks, Give Back
When Lafayette mom Marni Rivera went through a series of crises – losing her home, mother, grandmother and two close friends, and dealing with her husband’s serious illness – she was left feeling not self-pity but gratitude for others’ responses and support. It spurred her to start the nonprofit Kindness U to help parents and teachers teach kids to spread kindness and gratitude. Rivera’s free weekly newsletter includes quick and easy assignments to encourage your kids to become “kindness activists.” She is also developing a service-learning curriculum for schools. kindnessu.com.
Being grateful can help kids feel happier, behave better, improve their grades and more. So how do you instill gratitude in our consumer-driven culture? The authors of Making Grateful Kids: The Science of Building Character offer a prescription based on seven years of research. Among their 32 simple, practical tips are teaching kids to recognize the goodness and sacrifices of others to how to be critical consumers of media. (Templeton Press, 2014.) $24.95. makinggratefulkids.com.
Buy a Hero, Help a Hero
Adorn your child’s walls with adorable, modern posters of superheroes, Disney characters, Harry Potter stars and more – and help a military family in the process. For every poster sold, the San Francisco-based TwoFishProject, created by graphic artist Loni Hsieh, donates a portion of proceeds to the Fisher House Foundation, which helps military families stay together when a service member is treated for an injury or illness. $9 and up. www.etsy.com/shop/TwoFishProject
A Lesson in Gratitude
When the villagers in an ancient Chinese village begin to take their bridge to the outside world for granted and stop caring for it, it mysteriously disappears. In The Mystery of Dragon Bridge: A Peach Blossom Village Story, the villagers then learn lessons of gratitude and working together. The story is written in English and Chinese and beautifully illustrated by author-illustrator Ann Howard, a former Bay Area resident. (North Atlantic Books, 2014). $16.95. www.northatlanticbooks.com.
Things We Like celebrates the best products, people and places that make parenting fun. Got a suggestion? Email email@example.com or submit your idea at bayareaparent.com/content/submit-a-story.html.