the power of oreos and broken legs…

October 23, 2014

kindness class blackboard

My guerrilla kindness class that I teach at a local high school has been just okay lately. Not bad but not really good either. I’m just not sure if I am really connecting yet, which is very unusual for this empath- and slightly torturing. It’s been a source of discussion in my house off and on, everyone offering their suggestions and opinions. Today was no exception.

“Mom!” my six year old shouted from the other room. “How are you feeling about your kindness class today?!”

“Ummmm, I’m a little nervous.” I replied, shouting while I changed my outfit for the third time.

“You’ll be GREAT! Break a leg!” Lyra shouted back.

I’m not sure this is a Broadway show advice sort of moment but she has been watching a LOT of Annie lately….AND either way, the sun will come out tomorrow.

“Mom, what are you worried about?” Lucy (age 9) responded as she sensed a deeper inquiry may be needed.

“I dunno, I am just not sure we are connecting yet, you know? I’m a little rusty.” I said.

“Hmmmm, let’s talk this through. What do teenagers like? What. Do. Teenagers. Like. Hmmmm, they love technology! That’s it, I’ve got it, why don’t you have them all text EACH OTHER (said with an A-Ha! voice) a kind word?” Lucy offered.

The effort, care and kindness of this moment is enough to make anyone’s day, whether the class sucks or not. I have no idea why they are so invested exactly, but I’ll take it as there have been many a moment in the last week where self absorption was off the charts…for all of us truly, some were just more honest and vocal than others.

It seems every time I fear there will never be any balance in our family on this point, they surprise me…and I find I still have a long way to go myself.

They sent me on my way with one more wish and two little girl smiles… “I hope it goes good Mom!”


I stopped on the way to pick up a treat. I bring one every week, it is one part let’s-start-with-kindness and one part I-think-all-teenagers-love-sweets sort of offering. I grabbed a package of Oreos and gallon of milk.

I walked up the stairs with my gallon of milk  and my most hopeful hello voice.

“Is that MILK you are carrying?” a girl asked, who is not in my class.

“Yup and I have Oreos in my bag. Double Stuff.” I replied proudly.

“Are you serious?!!” another girl said. “For Kindness class?!”

I nodded my head.

“OMG Patience….you seriously are the best.” I quietly thanked my lucky stars for this stumbled upon goodness. Who KNEW Oreos and milk were the way to their hearts?! We quickly moved into conversations about celebrity crushes and Halloween costumes.

Later, in our discussion and quest to nail down kindness projects that we could possibly do, I asked what felt the most human. What one thing do we all care about and can share? They were a little baffled, it was a big question to tackle.

“Apparently it is Oreos and milk today…” I said. They all half smiled and totally agreed. “We can do that, we can give Oreos and milk to the entire school.” I said.

Their faces lit up….because this is where kindness begins some days… With a break-a-leg, and teenage junk food.

11 Responses to “the power of oreos and broken legs…”

  1. strokedtolife Says:

    Kindness starts like a spark and the spark burns until it becomes a brush fire. Kindness is you Patience- a spark that is starting brush fires everywhere. Good luck, every day. Sending you lots of love!

  2. Megan Says:

    Awwww what a lovely story. I am not part of your everyday or even every month activity but I have read your blog for the past few years and its been slowly fermenting into my psyche. I have very recently been offered the job of Town Center Manager of my local area, a job that terrifies and challenges me and your inspiration has become part of my internal dialogue as to what is it I believe to be true and important for my community. Where can I contribute and improve the area where I live and my children learn and grow. Thank you for putting your thoughts and ideas out there, believing in yourself and sharing, the small seeds of an idea go a long way – now I just need to convince my board! Thanks so much from Ellerslie New Zealand, Megan.

  3. Jen Bailey Says:

    Oh how I have missed your posts! This is just literally and figuratively the sweetest. You are awesomesauce and so is your class.

  4. Kim Redington Says:

    This is a great idea! I love the oreos and milk for all!

  5. Cindy Says:

    Right there with you Jen. I have missed your blog Patience, but I know how hectic your life is and all the wonderful opportunities that are coming your way. You have always inspired me. I know you have a full plate, but you should really, really write a book about your family and life. Your kindness adventures. I love you stories and your passion. I still carry the scroll you sent me. I have it with me everyday. That is how much is means to me. I know we all have our flaws, but your kindness is definitely not one of yours. I’m a better person having met you.

  6. Bonnie Franklin Says:

    Thank you…what a great class to be holding. Good luck and have a great day Bonnie


  7. kwshook77 Says:

    This post came on a day I woke up feeling down. You reminded me that there is always hope. That when you give Kindness, you will receive it. (even if it is from and to yourself) You have such thoughtful and insightful kids. Sometimes starting simple is the answer (cookies and milk). Thank you and you are sunshine to many.

  8. kristinpedemonti Says:

    Beautiful! Your kids are deeply wise and wonderful human beings. I LOVE hearing their responses to life through your posts. Here’s to realizing that sometimes all we need are oreos and milk and Kindness to get us through. Patience, you are a fabulous Human, thank you for Being. HUGS from my heart to yours!

  9. Sharon Says:

    Just discovered you blog. So needed and thanks for the inspiration!

  10. Tacy Says:

    Love it! I hope the rest of the class goes well.

  11. Brentlee Ryan Says:

    I love this. I have looking at things for a little while about random acts of kindness. You see I have a blog that every week posts a new adventure challenge and recently I posted one about random acts of kindness.

    But this site takes it to another level. First off a kindness class? I love that!! I think its brilliant. Teachers influence today’s youth so much, why not teach them that kindness matters too. 2nd, this is the first post I have read, and it got me excited. Kindness is something that people should actively be thinking about every day and it sounds like you live that. You have inspired me to do that same. Thanks and you know I will be checking back soon 🙂

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