When I was a kid, New York was the place you lived to meet different people. It was the place where on one single corner you could hear the tales of someone who just arrived to the United States from across the world and left it all behind, so that they could work and send money back to their family and pursue some of their own dreams that were impossible back home. And within minutes, on that same corner, hear rattily stories of jukeboxes, the 80s, and how boys dressed once upon a time in Kangol hats and tweed pants, and who exactly lived in the third floor railroad 10 years ago. Everyone in New York has a story shared in almost the same corner, with their own unique characters. It is the beauty and the history of New York. And to be honest, it is why I choose to raise my children here over and over again, in the place where I was born. This is why I’m honored to have partnered with Monster High in their initiative to spread kindness with their kind monsters, who often slightly mimic some of the many New York characters I’ve grown to know.
From Chinatown to Bedford Stuyvesant, up through Harlem, there is no shortage of different worlds for my children to experience. And while New York will always be that place that pushes my children to open their eyes wide in love, it is also up to my husband and I to teach our children kindness. It is not something they simply pick up; it is something we show in our own actions, in little and large acts. It is saying “please” and “thank you” and being respectful to everyone we cross.
I often watch in amazement at the grace River has shown as her world has tripled, possibly, quadrupled in size with her entry in kindergarten. As an involved parent, I also watch her teacher in amazement. I am in awe that, at the core, her teaching is in kindness and acceptance for what each child may bring, whether it be physically, mentally, or characteristically. And as I watch River play with her Monster High dolls, all varying in stories and different characteristics, I think of the same message: you be you.
To get more of an idea on kindness in the school, I asked my friend Phenia, a 4th grade math and science teacher, here in the city. Here’s what she had to say on the subject:
“The rule is simple: everyone must be kind and respectful to one another. We are currently having a kind challenge at my school. Each classroom has a poster board outside of their classroom and the teachers are to write the kind acts they have seen from scholars in the school.
As we celebrate kindness and kind monsters everywhere with Monster High, I want to hear more about how you teach your children kindness everyday. Are they the little or big acts?
River has started imagining a joy bucket over her head, which gets filled every time she does something kind for someone or if someone does something kind for her. I took something away while watching River play with her dolls: she pointed out their physical characteristics, but it wasn’t something that defined the dolls. She played, making things along the way, being kind along the way.