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Welcome Painting #1 – Chapter 2

On June 4, we delivered our Welcome Painting #1.

We delivered this painting to a lovely family with a Dad, a Mom and two young boys. The Dad’s name is Mohammad Al Mahasnh. They have recently immigrated to Ottawa from Syria.

Mohammad and his family welcomed us into their home with so much warmth and kindness. The coffee table was set with beautiful dishes and a feast of delicious food. Coffee was served.

We presented Welcome Painting #1. For the story of how and why we created this painting, you can read our previous post here.

Here is a photo of Mohammad, his two boys and my two children.

1. Welcome Painting

And here we are hanging the photo on the wall in their living room.

2. Hanging the Painting

The thing that really struck me about this beautiful day was how kids from all over the world are more the same than different. The young boys do not yet speak English, but all four kids got along great. All kids like to be silly. They like to make faces for the camera!

3. Silly Faces

4. Silly Faces 2

All kids like to wrestle and climb all over each other like little puppies.

5. Wrestling

All kids like to roll around and hang upside down off the couch.

6. Upside Down

I was just showing the above photo to the three girls at my house today – my daughter and two of her friends. I was explaining that my daughter and the little boy did not speak the same language, but that they still played together and had fun. I asked my daughter how they ended up upside down here and she said that the little boy did it first and she copied him. We talked about how it was pretty cool that you can play and have fun with other kids without needing to speak the same language!

I love this picture. All kids like to be Spiderman. Wearing a Spiderman bike helmet automatically gives every child the power to shoot spider webs out of your fingers.

7. Spiderman

And all kids like to climb on their dad’s shoulders.

8. Shoulder Ride

I think it is so important to teach our children this lesson at a young age – that we are more the same than we are different. This will help them build empathy for people who have lived a different experience than themselves. In this case, this family had to flee their country because of war and arrived here as refugees. If our amazing World-Changing Kids can see that they have lots in common with families who have arrived in their cities from other places around the world, then welcoming them here with open arms will be their natural response. Kindness will be their first thought.

In so many areas, the world right now is way too divided into “us versus them” mentality. As parents who want to make a difference, we can take small steps to introduce our children to people who may be easily grouped into the “other” category. We can show our kids that we are all in this together. We can let our kids know that we value community and welcoming our neighbours with kindness. It is up to us to model the behaviour that we want our children to have. And we can do this with a thousand small Acts of Kindness, we don’t have to wait for some giant, large action. We can demonstrate kindness every day.

I get so excited thinking about what these amazing World-Changing Kids will be able to do when they are the leaders and decision makers in our world if we are able to help them develop a whole load of empathy and compassion when they are young. I love thinking about how they will be able to make the world a better place for all of us. I know that they will do awesome things.

Stay tuned for “Welcome Painting #1 – Chapter 3” … where I explain how we met this family, which is through our new, amazing friend Samer, and how we met Samer. It was too much information to write all in one post!

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For 75 Acts of Kindness that will help you teach your children empathy, kindness and community engagement, check out our book, “Plant a Garden of Kindness, A Child’s Guide to Filling a Year with Weekly Acts of Kindness”. Click on “Buy our Book” in the upper right corner of our website for a list of fantastic Ottawa retail locations that sell our book, as well as instructions for online ordering.

And if you are on Instagram, and you wanted to check out and maybe follow us there, that would be awesome! We have just gotten the hang of Instagram and would love some more friends to join us there. Click here to visit us on Instagram.