Monday, September 27, 2010

Daily Acts of Boldness

I receive a DailyGood in my inbox, a daily story of inspiration. Often these stories are the inspiration for my blog posts, and individuals from these stories are often the recipients of our weekly dak giveaways. The story for today was subtle, yet bold, as the title implies, and the website it originated from is interesting.

The author shared a wonderful quote, which I will shamelessly include for you as well:

Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it….Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one’s thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world. -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The author went on to encourage each of us to live boldly each day. I like this because dakbands are acts of boldness. Instead of moving through each day hesitantly, waiting for the other shoe to drop, do something - put a thought, hope, feeling, wish, dream, into action. Push yourself to do something outside your comfort zone. Do something for someone else. Be aware of others. Be on the look out for small acts of kindness that you can reward, even if you don't know the person. Live boldly, offer them a dakband and then watch as they live boldly and pass that dakband on to someone else, who acts boldly and passes it on ......before you know it we have lit up our map with acts of kindness that have emboldened us all.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What if.....

What if I told you that last weekend our son was invited to a birthday party that involved about 15 boys from his class and another class at school.....

What if I told you that this party, like so many, was held at an indoor playground....

What if I also shared that the parents attending the party never introduced themselves to one another and spent much of the time on their blackberries, or reading the newspaper, while all the children ran around completely unsupervised (despite presence of at least six adults)....

What if I shared my broken heart and told you that I caught four boys holding down and jumping on, crushing, one little boy who had been the brunt of their teasing since he arrived.......

What if I told you that these were four and five year olds........

What if I said, "This is why we need dakbands."

Friday, September 17, 2010

Facilitating Kindness

to make easier or less difficult; help forward (an action, a process, etc.)

That certainly sounds like kindness, doesn't it?

Every year I lead ( I like to think, facilitate) many workshops. Usually the theme revolves around sportsmanship. But it isn't often that I have the opportunity to participate in an event that is led by a professional facilitator. Yesterday, however, I had the absolute pleasure of being part of a brainstorming session that took place at the True Sport offices in Ottawa, led by professional facilitator/artist Judy Kent.

Facilitating is such an art. It is the ability to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each individual at the table, pull out those strengths, encourage contribution and consensus, all within the framework of a specific agenda. To make this appear easy, is ironically, no easy feat. When a facilitator can point out the elephant in the room with a gentleness that is no less frank, it not only moves the agenda forward, but preserves everyone's dignity. Not surprisingly, Judy is the lead facilitator for Generations for Peace.

Generations for Peace:
Generations For Peace is a global organisation founded by HRH Prince Feisal Al Hussein of Jordan, to contribute to the world’s need for greater tolerance and understanding between conflicting communities; ultimately helping to lead to a demand and desire for peace.

Launched in Jordan in April 2007, Generations For Peace uses sport to empower leaders of youth from hostile regions, to act as agents of change to help instil tolerance, understanding and ultimately peace. Generations For Peace will teach them sport, peace education and how to cascade the programmes in their own communities and regions.

When the session ended, I gave Judy some dakbands in recognition of her kind leadership throughout the course of the day. Since she is off to Russia next week, who knows where they might end up. I have a feeling the stories of kindness will inspire us all.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


A year or so ago I had this great idea to send dakbands to individuals and/or organizations that were featured in the media for their kindness, generosity, compassion, etc...Somehow I just never got around to getting myself organized enough to carry it through. Yet, the past couple of weeks, I have happened upon some stories that inspired me to stop making excuses, and start making the time. Sort of.

It really isn't my time, but Maryann's. Over and over again she offers to help with the dakband project and for the most part I haven't had anything really concrete to offer her. So guess what she is doing now? She is our official media dakker. I send her the links to stories, she does the requisite research and sends out the dakbands - with a little note from the Dak Team. I dropped all the materials off at her place today.

Every time we send some dakbands, I will follow-up with blog post and a facebook post so you can share in the excitement.

To kick things off I prepared our first two mailings this evening.

The first package is going out to Clare Kravchenko who was featured in today's Star. Her story is both inspiring and heart-breaking. I am moved by her strength and grace, and look forward to seeing all the acts of kindness that her bands generate.(Not to mention that she raised $30, 000.00 for the Weekend to End Women's Cancers.)

The second package waiting to go out the door is for Mike Holmes. That's right, Holmes on Homes. He announced a new project that will involve partnering with the Assembly of First Nations to build green, affordable housing in aboriginal communities across the country. The goal for the first year is to build 50 homes. Talk about finally. Finally, an opportunity to not only improve the condition in which many First Nations people live, but raise awareness as well. I hope Mike's act of kindness is something we can all follow and share through the dakbands.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

When Timing is Kind, A Quick Goodbye

On Sunday, we took my daughter to university - a day I had been emotionally avoiding for months. Both my children are now officially out-of-the-house - for the time being anyway (I'm told they come back). It seems significant. The greatest part of my job is done. Not sure how I feel about that.

For weeks leading up to Sunday, if I even thought about saying good-bye to my daughter, I'd begin to tear up. I'd also cry thinking about how quiet the house was going to be without her presence, or how awkward it would be to set the table for three instead of four, even seeing her bedroom floor (something I haven't seen in years) made me cry, knowing that all her clothes are now scattered somewhere else. Most of all, I'll miss her day to day kindnesses: her willingness to contribute and help out (most of the time with smile), her sunny disposition which was infectious, her generous babysitting and chauffeur experience, and the "love you"s as she rushed out door.

As the end of the afternoon approached, the new bed was made, the clothes were hanging in their new closet (for the time being), mini fridge was plugged in, lunch was had, the knot in my stomach moved to my throat. I could feel the tears beginning to well up. Suddenly, we all realized that she was late for a mandatory meeting of her new dormitory, and we still had to make a suitcase/computer exchange. She ran upstairs to her room while we ran down into the parking garage, we met back on the main floor with barely time for hug. Then she was gone. There were no tears, no hysterical sobbing, no embarrassing displays of emotion at all - there simply wasn't time. Sometimes timing is everything, if not kind.

Mother and daughter.