Tuesday, November 5, 2019

One Drop of Kindness: A mission that has become much more than a picture book

This is from a guest post on  ThriveGlobal.com community page.
Everyone has a story. Some people have more than one, but deep down, there is something to be uncovered in all of us.I’ve been in many schools, and have worked with thousands of children. One common theme rings true with every single child; they all want to do good.Kindness comes from the heart so easily for some. Others? Well, just look at the news, or on social media today. Kindness has become lost and sunken so deep, it is like trying to raise the Titanic.Because each child AND adult has a unique story, the trait of kindness can take so long to be brought to the surface, but, as a society, it must be on the forefront for all of us. People have been hurt, broken, abused, betrayed, abandoned, misled and so much more, that the depth of pain varies for all of us. That is why it is imperative to act now with intentional good, and kindness for all.In the book, One Drop of Kindness, our main character, Gus, goes on a journey of being an abandoned boy full of hatred and despair to finding Kindness in his heart, and spreading drops for all to see. It is this message that I tried to convey my own struggles throughout my life. Not only was I hurt, unkind, and dejected at times as a child AND adult, I did many hurtful things as well! Unfortunately (and then fortunately once you meet our friend, Truly), many things that take place in the book, actually happen at schools all over the world.With World Kindness Day coming up on November 13, 2019, I would like to present you with a challenge: Be intentional and mindful daily about how you treat others and yourself. Pause before you react, and then use kind words. Be intentional with your actions and let kind acts takeover. Use the domino, or ripple effect, and challenge others to use kind words, or simple random and kind acts. Things such as; opening doors for others, giving up a seat on a bus or train, helping someone cross the street, offer to give a sandwich or drink to someone, pay the toll on the bridge for the car behind you, pick up trash at a school, park or community area.Kindness isn’t rocket science, but remember that for some, it is a heavy task, and so difficult at times. Be patient and show everyone you know, and even strangers, that kindness can win and takeover the pain, hatred, and frustration of the world.Check out my book, One Drop of Kindness – HERE, or go to my website for FREE resources on Kindness and for World Kindness Day, HERE.
Together, we can create Drops of Kindness and change the world!
Jeff Kubiak
Educator, Author, Speaker, Advocate for All Kids

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Intention - A Defining Word

    Most of us know, that intention can be quite an amazing thing, and many of us in education are often defined by the very way we are, intended or not. " To act in a certain way" or "To Plan" or "Have Purpose".  When we have intentionality, or a determined way to act or deliver, it can be very powerful. It can also be quite telling about who we are, and what message we are trying to convey.
    Take kindness, for example. When we act with deliberate and intentional kindness, a ripple effect can often be seen, heard, and felt. People begin to watch, listen and act in a way that emulates people doing the right thing. If purposeful, and heartfelt, intentional kindness can become a way of life. It makes one feel good, right, just, fulfilled, and plentiful when being kind. Letting our conscious efforts drive our acts, it becomes habitual and mission-like. We've all seen it in videos, blogs, newscasts, and various posts of people (and animals) being intentionally kind. These acts can be random, but when they are filled with a conscious plan - they can provide the heartfelt filling of an empty space. Not only that, but it can actually be lifesaving. Look it up on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, or your favorite Social Media Platform: Random Acts, or Acts of Kindness. They work. Very well. So well, that our cliche "Domino Effect", "Ripple Effect", "Chain Reaction" and any other are actually true, factual, studied and real.
    I ask you this: Be Intentional with all that you do. Whatever it is, put purpose, passion, love, and a plan behind it. The only caveat is that within this intention, think with your heart, be empathetic to others, and let kindness drop from it. The world is changing my friends. Don't let it drag us down. Instead, let's all Intentionally make it the Kindness place to be.
Follow some of my Kindness Friends for more resources: Tamara Letter - Passion for Kindness, Laurie McIntosh - The Kind Club, One Drop of Kindness, Roman Nowak - Be Kind EDU, Rachel Joy Scott - Rachel's Challenge, John Magee - The Kindness Coach, and Barbara Gruener - Corner on Character, just to name a few.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

My First, First Day

   August 26th was my 20th "First" day as an educator, but it was also really my "First". You see, I've never begun a school year without my Pops being around.
It's been over three weeks since he left us for the Angels, but I could tell something was amiss. Pops always had the habit of calling to check in on me daily, but especially after a new school year had begun.
   "Jeffers" he'd say. "How did it go today"? I'd tell Pops all about the students, teachers, parents, and some of the great things that went on during the usual crazy first day of class. We'd catch up, laugh, and just listen to each other.
   You see, my father had a work ethic, unlike anyone I've ever seen, or known. He worked two to three different jobs growing up, just to ensure our family was taken care of better than he was as a boy. It wasn't unusual for dad to bike home from the University after a long day, eat dinner with my sister, mom and I, shower up, then head off for a night shift at another hospital.
   I really can't comprehend this, and I even lived it. Now I realize why he always seemed so tired. But, damn. He did whatever it took to make a great life for us. You just don't see that commitment to work, or family anymore.
   Getting back to my first day of the 2019-2020 School Year. The day was fantastic; so many bug eyed students, excited parents, and staff members that knew their "why".
   It wasn't until I was driving home that it hit me. "I can't call Pops" I thought to myself. So, I decided to speak to him aloud anyway. Telling him of the highs, and lows, and how hot it was. A few tears ran down my cheeks, really missing his voice.
   As I walked in the door to my house, my mother was sitting on the couch reading her book. She had taken care of my son for the last few days, helping my wife and I jigsaw our life into one piece. It really dawned on me then: My parents were always there for me. Regardless of it being a real life conversation, a visit, a chat of encouragement, or just in my memories.
   I miss Pops everyday. Some days more. Some days more than that. Each day is new, but I know, deep down, that he is cheering me on, watching me, and reminding me that "Family First" is really what it's all about.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

What if we just disrupted a bit...

OK, so I might ruffle a few feathers, but when has that stopped me before, right?
This is a rewrite of a post I wrote about a year and a half ago.
Right now, here we are. In the moment. Doing. Moving. Breathing. Living our life.
And then it happens. Something we don’t want, but now, we have come to expect.
A tragedy.
Lives are disrupted, lost and memorialized. We wonder why. What happened? What could have gone wrong? When will things change and improve?
Wake up - it hits us. The Anger. The Rage. The Pain. The Fear. The Anguish. And The Hate.
When will it end? Why can’t we get this thing called Kindness, Compassion, Love, Empathy and Togetherness right?
It seems so simple; we teach our Preschool and Elementary kiddos to be kind, use nice words, actions and gestures. “Think of others first” we say to them; because we know that they are young, malleable, impressionable and sweet. Hoping it
will stick to them like glue. We KNOW they can do better than we did.
We KNOW they can help us to improve our world. We KNOW they are the only ones we can count on to be what our society isn't.
But, for some reason, it isn’t working. It is broken, and so are we.
Why can’t we get this right? The hatred. The fury. The disgust. The judgement. The ignorance. The inability to reflect, stop and think.
Not a day goes by in this amazing country that we don’t relive Normandy, Vietnam, Selma, 9/11, Holocaust, Columbine, Boston Marathon Bombings; need I list more? No. We know them all, or at least most of them. They just repeat with a theme; Racism, Hate, War, Mental Illness,
Misunderstandings, Ignorance and Lack of Empathy.
Who are we, my friends? Have we lost our minds? Why can’t we get it right? We have a leader in Washington DC that thought draining the swamp meant to eradicate all the good, treat others with disgust and hatred and words that cannot be forgotten. We have members of Congress that can’t see past the money
they get from the NRA, Big Pharma, Exxon-Mobil, AT&T and
so many more; that they can’t see straight.
In 2018, we had more hate groups in the US now, than ever (1020 and growing -see map HERE ). What is wrong with us? Why is #Kindness so difficult? The movie Wonder come out with the #ChooseKind movement. I just wrote my first picture book called One Drop of Kindness. Check it out. But, Why. Is. KINDNESS So. Hard?
The Olympics come and go; we bond together in our love of sports.
Our Women's National Soccer Team just crushed the World. Americans unite. But, you Know what? Each amazing female
athlete that is on the team will receive roughly $260K. Not a bad amount you may think ...until you realize that the Men's Team would have each gotten about $1.1M. Yes, that's correct. The women get about 24% of what their male counterparts! WTF?!

What if we decided to be kind AND equitable everyday?

What if our students had the consistent message that they count and matter?
What if all Americans could have affordable Health Care, both Physical and Mental
when they needed it?
What if we only used guns for protection, hunting and sporting, and like many of
the safest countries in the world, we did not allow semi and automatic weapons?
What if All students had a say in his/her education?
What if all Black, White, Brown, and every other color person actually got along
because they cared about each other?
What if the President and Congress actually worked for the People of the
United States? Not for Special Interests? or Himself and his ego?
What if we all just did better. A little at a time. Every day.

Let's just disrupt the status quo. Today. Right Now.
Do it with kindness, intention, betterment of others and to bring equity to our world. One Ripple at a time.

I’m willing to try. Are you?

Monday, July 1, 2019

We Made it! #KubiakKindnessCrew #OneDropOfKindness

1,712 miles driven.
18 Copies of One Drop of Kindness given away.
100's of ODK Stickers passed around.
Thousands of doors opened and being held for others.
Unknown amounts of trash picked up.
Water, Happy Meals, and other snacks purchased for those without.
Countless smiles, hello's, thank you's and general pleasantries.

Those are just some stats.
The magic within the trip was exponentially greater. The family bonding? Unfathomable.
Team Kube set off for 3 National Parks and ventured through some of most ghostly parts of the Western United States. Highway 50, known at the "Loneliest Road in America" and home to the Pony Express was our beginning. We played car games, sang songs, laughed at random jokes, listened to podcasts, had temper tantrums, ate the greasiest food I've ever seen and yes, we even slept a bit.

The purpose of our journey was several-fold. First, my kids hadn't seen many National Parks, something I had done a lot of as a child. Second, we needed to bond and spend some disconnected time together as a family - we don't get a lot of it during the school year. Lastly, as part of the mission of my new book, One Drop of Kindness, and our family motto, we wanted to give back and perform as many "Random Drops of Kindness" as we could.

The four of us called the trip a success. Yes, there was still some thermo-nuclear meltdowns, arguments, rough patches and hiccups, Team Kube laughed, played, loved and truly created memories.
Canyoneering in narrow sandstone canyons, zip-lining, horseback, long hikes overlooking some of nature's most prestigious works of wonder (Zion, Bryce and Great Basin), Spelunked, swam, campfired, fought gnats, Smore'd, conversed, played cards, unplugged, and most importantly; just plain had time together as a family.

We ended our journey with a stop in SinCity, or Las Vegas to some of you. This was a first for our kids...eyes WIDE open, wondering, smelling the pot waft throughout our stroll, running into David Copperfield on the street, the overcrowded and supersonic drunkenness of the hotel"lazy river", Neon lights, sounds, and incredible humans. On this stop we had the pleasure of meeting Jim, our friendly Hotel Engineer. I posted about Jim earlier on Twitter, as I believed his story was amazing.

A grandfather of 4, Jim is a pleasant, kind and very overworked hotel employee. When we checked in, the kids noticed our television wasn't working. 3 calls and 4 hours later, Jim showed up.
Ever so apologetic, we told him not to worry, and realized that he must have been very busy. Almost taken aback, Jim said, "people normally don't react that way, they are kind, in general, thank you". I almost wept. How could someone get angry at a per
son who is doing his best, and trying to keep up? Entitlement perhaps? yes, no doubt.
We talked, laughed, joked, and told stories. As Jim was finished, I asked if I could give him a copy of my book - with a huge smile, Jim replied "YES!".

I often struggle with balance, parenting, husbanding and self care. But I never neglect a chance to reflect. This trip brought many things into perspective for me. Family First. Serve others whenever possible (it's always possible). Quit comparing myself to others (24 hour challenge for me). And, most importantly, we only get one ride on this terrific voyage called life. My kids are 10 and 14 and it seems as life has been put on fast forward x10.
If you've read this far and haven't fallen asleep, please take this into consideration:
Serve others, always.
Enjoy your time with family and friends.
Be kind to yourself.
Create Drops and Ripples of Kindness, I guarantee they'll spread far and come back to you.

#OneDropOfKindness #PushBoundEDU #CompelledTribe #JoyfulLeaders

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Here We Go! #KubiakKindnessCrew in action

Today we (TeamKube) embark on a National Park adventure.

    Growing up, my family took many a road trip and traveled cross-country quite a bit, but this is something that TeamKube has not done much of, and we finally agreed that we need to get our 10 and 14 year olds out to see the old USA more!
    Now, I'm a bit high strung, if any of you know me. For those that don't...I can be impulsive, and at times a bit, let's say "easily agitated" if I'm hungry or tired.
    While my son and daughter are lovely, they don't always get along, which can make for long road trips, but today, begins anew my friends!
    My wife Piper has mapped out a fantastic trip to Zion, Bryce and a few other surprise stops along the way. I will do my "Cub Scout" best to chill, expect obstacles, laugh, and just enjoy some unplugged family time.
     One thing that excites me the most is that Piper wanted to make this a #KubiakKindnessCrew trip as well. What is that? It means that we will be bringing along copies of my new book, One Drop of Kindness, and stickers and will partake on as many "Random Drops of Kindness" acts that we can.
Giving away books and stickers is only part. Random favors, supplies or food to strangers, cleaning up parks...who knows?

Stay tuned for some ultra fun video and wordsmithing, as I am ready for a new Jeff, Gus style!



Friday, May 17, 2019

Putting ourselves out there...with writing

I recently had the amazing experience that my first book, One Drop of Kindness, was published. It was officially launched on Amazon on May 3, thanks to my amazing publisher, Sarah Thomas at EduMatch.
While I am super stoked and excited about the reviews and positive impact it has had, my skin has thickened with the umm, not so rave reviews and suggestions too. I have began to develop a thicker outer shell, because, as I know, I am in charge of how I act, react and respond to others. While I still am growing, it can be difficult at times.
It's a funny thing, writing. Those who have the courage and take the risk to write, be it; a blog, poetry, books, etc, really can take a "virtual" beating.
Now don't get me wrong, my Kindness book is not for everyone, (although it should be), but if the naysayers can do so much better, why don't they? I LOVE feedback, both positive, and in ways that I can improve. But, perhaps when people have suggestions, ideas, thoughts, considerations, and critiques, it can be spun in a positive (and even private sometimes?) way.
A week or so ago, my dear friend Melanie Korach, had someone poke some negative mojo at her poetry. Get this my friends, Melanie does not have a mean bone in her body. She created the #StarfishClub, writes about love, kindness, empathy, and about every other positive characteristic or idea there is. Why would someone rip on her? Well, maybe jealousy? self loathing? lack of confidence, and fighting their own demons? I don't know, but to put it out on Twitter, and the Social Media Universe is just downright unkind.
Another friend, who's name I won't mention got so many virtual punches after he/she Tweeted something, they had to finally take down the post, as people actually had the gaul to threaten her/him!
Many of us put our heart, soul, mind, and more into our work. Writing takes a lot out of me, but I get a sense of light, power, energy and emotional octane from it. I don't write for YOU to bash, I write for me to perhaps improve myself, and maybe, just maybe, make life a bit better for someone else.
With so many amazing bloggers, podcasters, authors, vloggers, and more, let's try to read these amazing works of passion with a positive intent.
So, I ask this of you. If you want to write, Go. For. It. Write your butt off. Clean your soul, share your passion, ideas, love, and story with the world, or just a few friends. Do it with so much courage and faith, that it makes your fear run from success.
It will be great. It will be not so great. It will be a challenge. It will be exhilarating. It will be just what you need.
Now take out your Fred Flinstone slate, chisel and hammer, and leave your tattoo of awesomeness for all of us to read!
#OneDropOfKindness #Joyfulleaders #pushboundEDU #CompelledED