When I was a kid at camp we all knew this never-ending song that went, “I knew a man named Michael Finnegan. He had whiskers on his chinnegan. Along came the wind and blew them in again. Poor old Michael Finnegan. Begin again. I knew a man…”
You get the picture. It’s the kind of song that makes camp counselors (and parents) kind of nuts. But it’s so fun to sing.
I think of that song whenever spring really hits in NYC. It’s time to begin again. And this year it was cold and snowy way into April, so you know we are all ready for flowers to bloom and birds (other than the ever-present pigeons) to chirp once more.
For me, April marked the very end of my first Princess Pulverizer book tour. This was a long one—I was on the road (or skyping with classrooms) at least one day a week almost every week since the new series launched in January. I met kids all over the New York region in person, and all over the US via skype, and I was thrilled to see them relate to the Quest of Kindness and think of ways they could start on a quest of their own in their schools. They suggested things like listening to their teachers, helping clean up, and being nice to one another. But the kids who touched my heart—the ones who I think really got it—were the kids who suggested sitting with someone who was alone at lunch, or inviting someone who had no one to play with to join in their games. And it was all I could do to keep from crying tears of joy when one child said, “Stand up for someone who is being bullied.” Kids are smart. And compassionate. I’m not sure when we lose that, but here’s hoping that despite our current atmosphere, we get that compassion back really soon.
If Princess Puvlerizer and her pals do nothing more than get kids thinking that random (and not so random) acts of kindness should be goals to strive for, I will have succeeded in my career. No starred reviews, awards or spots on bestseller lists could be more important than planting the seed of acceptance and humanity in a kid’s head and heart. (And maybe allowing them to have some fun reading along the way!) And since spring is all about watching planted seeds blossom, I hope this post can help some grown-ups find those seeds planted years ago and help them blossom by doing good deeds themselves. (Bet you wondered how I was going to bring this back to spring, didn’t ya?)
Enjoy the beautiful sunshine. And try to spread a little sunshine of your own.
Be kind. Be accepting. And good luck on beginning your own Quest of Kindness.