So last week Cayden asked me in the car on our way home from school if I would wake him up before sunrise the next morning. As we have entered the winter months and it is generally still dark before Cayden leaves for school I said sure and asked why he wanted to be woken.
He then starting to tell me all about his friend Sher-Ali who was starting to fast for Ramadan and that he would like to join him in fasting the next day. I said sure (even though I was quiet worried about my child (or actually more worried for his teacher) as Cayden normally eats many times a day and can become very grumpy when hungry)!
He talked a bit more about his friend and about what he had learnt about Ramadan from him.
I found this really interesting as I must admit I know very little about the Muslim month of fasting. I was amazed that in addition to not eating they don’t drink either between sunrise and sunset (I’m sure there are at least a few other people who did not know that)!
He said the main reason his friend said they fast is to imagine what it is like to be homeless and not know where your next meal comes from.
I thought that was a lovely and simple way to look at it!
I then researched Ramadan a bit more and found the following explanation:-
The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the soul by freeing it from harmful impurities. Ramadan also teaches Muslims how to better practice self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice, and empathy for those who are less fortunate; thus encouraging actions of generosity and compulsory charity.
So the next day Cayden woke up bright and early and made himself a large breakfast, which he consumed before sunrise. He then went off to school with a small
amount of food in his lunch box (for emergency purposes). When I fetched him at 14.30 I was secretly quiet amazed to hear from him that he had not eaten or drank anything at all
since breakfast. He then carried on his fasting until well after 4 that afternoon before caving and having an orange and some water.
He was quiet matter of fact about his experience, he said that it was easier than he thought it would be and made him think twice about how it feels to be homeless and go hungry!
Sometimes we get so overwhelmed and stuck in the detail and largeness of things we forget or overlook the simple goodness at the heart of things. Sometimes we just need a child to explain things to us from his view and with childlike curiosity try new things just for the sake of it.
Ramadan Mubarak to everyone fasting this month.
So after 2 and a half years of being out of action Cayden is back and full of plans to spread more kindness!
We spent Saturday afternoon scheming over an amazing Thai meal and we are busy planning a new kindness challenge as we speak so watch this space!
Studies consistently show that we feel happier when we perform acts of kindness. Not only do good deeds make us feel better but people who are kind and compassionate are usually the most successful.
WHATS not to like!!
So we have been a bit slack at updating our blog over the last two weeks but we have been slaving over our scarf making and getting to the stage where we could start handing out.
After our appeal on the blog and Facebook a few wonderfully generous people donated enough money for us to make 40 scarves and sandwiches! It is so lovely to see the generosity of friends and family and to know we have so many people support.
So those of you in Cape Town today will know it is a super wintery, cold and wet day today so we decided it would be the perfect day to go out and spread some love and warmth.
I bought two loaves of fresh bread, the bag of scarves we had completed so far and some freshly made soup that was still piping hot and went to fetch Cayden and his friend Lucy from school.
On the way home we stopped where we saw people and handed them each a scarf, two pieces of bread and a cup of thick, warm, nutritious soup! It was such an amazing feeling to be able to give to people that really needed it and to meet some new, lovely and friendly people!
We got to give food & a scarf to that sweet old man who has been standing at the robots near Cayden’s school for as long as I can remember, if you come from Cape Town once you see him you cant forget him, he has the most weird teeth and fulls the funniest faces and makes crazy noises to make the kids laugh. I have always thought he has such a genuine, kind look about him! We then met Markus along Imaam Haraan rd and then went on to the Spar to try and find some of the friends we usually take food and coffee to. They were unfortunately not there but we had the pleasure of meeting Thomas, Nicolas and the sweetest old lady called Frances who had the most beautifully lined face and happy smile (pics to follow!).
Then lastly on our way home we stopped off opposite the Claremont police station and handing out our goodies to a group of 5 people who were huddled under a overhanging outside one of the shops. We had met the lady Charlotte before but not the rest of the guys she lives with. They were most appreciative and allowed us to take a pic of them. Charlotte was most excited when I said I would print her a copy and take it to her as she wanted to send it back to her family in Stellenbosch.
All in all it was a most rewarding afternoon and we hope that the small kindness we have shown today will ripple out and continue to spread throughout Cape Town in this last few cold weeks of winter!
Never forget a kind act no matter how big or small never goes to waste!
Its flippen cold in Cape Town at the moment & Cayden & I are on a mission to try and spread the warmth with those less fortunate than us!
We are busy making fabulously warm and cosy scarves like in the picture below in green or red.
For only R20 you can sponsor a scarf & a sandwich for a needy person in Cape Town. We will package it up nicely and add a little card saying that this gift was sponsored by you.
If you are interested send us a private message or an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you the banking details.
Have a gr8 day and together lets SPREAD the KINDNESS!!
Today Cayden and I got to help a guy in need (and hopefully restore a little of his faith in humanity) after he had been attacked and robbed of his few belongings.
All it took was a few minutes of our time to really listen to him, a cup of coffee and sandwich to keep him going and the gift of a bucket so that he can try and continue to earn a little money washing cars.
Grand gestures are not always necessary to change a persons life sometimes all they need is a kind word and a smile and who cannot spare some of those.
Be the change you want to see in the world.
‘No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted!’
So today, thanks to Spur Cavendish, Cayden, his friend Veer and I received 25 Spur vouchers to hand out to children in the Cavendish shopping mall.
The plan was to have a fun, spontaneous handing out of vouchers to children we saw as we walked around the shopping mall and I must say I was not expecting it to be quiet as intimidating as it turned out to be.
I guess in this day and age we have been sadly so programmed to believe that there is no such thing as a free handout and that anything that a stranger wants to give you has got to have strings attached! Quiet a few parents turned us down point blank without us getting a chance to explain what we were trying to do.
The kids soon got quiet weary about walking up to strangers and offering them the vouchers they were so excited to hand out and they made me go up and talk while they hang back shyly behind me. I must say if I had just been me I would have given up after a few failed attempts! However the kids were desperate to hand the vouchers out so we kept at it for a good hour and a half to two hours.
All in all I was glad we stuck at it! For every two negative people we encountered there was at least one very kind, grateful person who took the time to listen to us explaining that this was a free voucher for them to use no strings attached and gave the children really kind words of thanks. By the end the kids lost their shyness and really enjoyed the process and kept asking really loudly after a person turned us down – why on earth do they not want the voucher! – lol.
The most interesting part of the experiment was that teenagers where so much more open, kind and willing to listen that the adults we encountered.
It is a good lesson in parenting that we should raise our children to see the good in other people and not just assume the worst!
Like the inspirational video depicts, if you search for what is good in this world you will find it!!
The Kindness Challenge took up quiet a lot of time and energy and I feel like I havnt yet had a proper chance to thank everyone involved for their input and time.
The emails and feedback from the people who took part really touched Cayden and I here are just a few excerpts that I would like to share:-
– Cheering up people is such fun!! Emily has now taken to hugging ANYone who looks like they might need it. 🙂
– I’m so thrilled you are spreading so much kindness – it can only cause a miracle in the world if everyone was to follow your example!
– Day 2 – smashed …. Granny G took delicious crunchies to a neighbour, Grandpa G and Granny G each phoned a friend they had not spoken to for a very long time!
– Good idea and thanks for challenging us this week. It has been fun and very worthwhile.
– Dear Cayden and Salz… My smile took me many places today.
– Lucy pinned this drawing on our wall this morning to remind us to keep smiling.. Even AFTER the smile challenge 😀
– We think we practice kindness but it helps to be reminded as you did in the week past. It made me more aware of what I do and more observant of what I could do.
– Just wanted to comment and say your Kindness Challenge was AWESOME!! So well thought out, great ideas for kids AND adults. So awesome that you focused on such a wide range of areas with manageable steps in each one. At the beginning of the week I was feeling a bit sorry for myself and almost wishing I hadn’t committed to fitting more things into my week but I quickly felt so rewarded doing the various things, loved how good it made us & others feel. Overall, just fabulous – well done you guys, you are changing the world!
DONT forget each and every one of you have the power to change the world!
Each small act of kindness has a ripple effect that goes on immeasurably! Be the change you want to see in the world, it does not have to be a grand time consuming gesture it can be as simple as a kind word or smile.
Wow what a special week!
Cayden & I really enjoyed sitting down and planning each day, thinking of fun ideas of things to do and drafting emails to send out to the participants.
Each day has a different aspect of kindness to be focused on:-
1. Kind Words;
2. Be kind to the world (environmentally)
3. Kind Actions
4. Be kind to your body
5. Smile Day!
Congratulations to each and everyone who took part we starting a ripple of kindness that week which will be far reaching!
6 Unconventional, Scientific Ways to be Happier
Wow such a interesting article! Totally agree with all 6 points – definitely worth a read.