Empowering Our Children to Find Strength in Kindness
Jennifer Adams | The Children’s Book Review | February 24, 2018
When I was little, maybe eight years old, I was with a group of kids in a local parade for our state holiday, Pioneer Day. We dressed like the pioneers who walked across the Plains to settle the Utah Territory, the boys in knee pants and the girls in bonnets and long skirts. I think there was a covered wagon float, and there may even have been some singing involved.
What I do remember, is that at the end of the parade the adults had these incredible old-fashioned lollipops for us. The kind that are big and flat and round and swirl with lots of bright colors. The kind of lollipop you’d imagine eating if you were inside the book Charlotte’s Web at the State Fair. We were mesmerized by those lollipops.
So, after they handed them out, this one little boy—I remember thinking he was really small, much younger than I was—was so excited he took his lollipop and starting running to show his mom. He tripped and fell and dropped it, and it shattered on the ground. The look on his face was one of complete horror. And he opened his mouth and started to howl.
My mom was with me, and she prodded me immediately, “Quick, go give him yours!” I looked at her, appalled. I was sorry for the little guy, sure, but I didn’t see why that meant I had to give up my lollipop. She must have understood my expression, because she said, “I’ll buy you another one. Go give it to him.” So, I reluctantly made my way over to the kid and handed him my lollipop.
The look on his face was amazing. He stopped howling and stared at me. He stared at the lollipop. He almost didn’t dare to take it, like he couldn’t believe it was real. Then he reverentially took it from my hand. I felt like Santa Claus or a guardian angel. I felt empowered.
My mom did buy me another lollipop later. I remember licking it for a while, and then it ended up on the floor of the car with some dirt and hair stuck to it and I threw it away. And I remember thinking, even at eight years old, that the experience of giving away my lollipop and that little boy’s face was much more fun and satisfying than actually eating the lollipop. (Eating the lollipop wasn’t really as fun and tasty in real life as the idea of eating it was, which was another lesson entirely.)
I’ve thought about that experience as an adult because it’s interesting that as I child I really didn’t want to do the nice thing, the kind thing. In fact, I would not have even thought of doing it. But my mom prompted me and gave me the opportunity to exercise kindness.
How do we empower our children to find strength in kindness? One simple way is to help them see opportunities for kindness in small, daily acts. Give the boy who’s waiting a chance at the swing. Share your cupcake. Put your arm around your sister when she’s crying. Introduce yourself to the new kid. Put the lost dog in your backyard until you find the owner. Invite your neighbor over. Loan a book. Ask the girl who’s always by herself to sit with you.
It’s often in the small acts of kindness that we make the world better—that we find empowerment and joy. It’s by giving and receiving those acts that people’s hearts are changed. You don’t have to explain this to your child. When you help her find opportunities to act with kindness, she will experience those positive feelings for herself. And those feelings will stay with her and teach her about the kind of person she wants to be. She’ll feel the strength and goodness within her. She’ll feel her power.
I fill my heart with kindness,
the most powerful weapon there is.
Written by Jennifer Adams
Illustrated by Carme Lemniscates
Publisher’s Synopsis: She isn’t a princess—she’s a warrior goddess!
You don’t have to be a grown-up to be a hero, and I Am a Warrior Goddess shows how in the empowering tale of a little girl with big aspirations. Through the clever play between illustration and text, young readers learn how each day is full of opportunities to make a positive impact with ordinary actions. As our heroine connects with the earth, takes care of her body, and finds strength in kindness, she discovers her inner warrior goddess and inspires young girls everywhere to do the same.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Sounds True | 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1683640059
About the Author
Jennifer Adams is the author of more than 40 books, including the BabyLit board book series, which introduces small children to the world of classic literature, and My Little Cities board books, illustrated by the award-winning Greg Pizzoli. Her new book is titled, jennifer-adams.com.(Sounds True, February 6, 2018). Jennifer’s work has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Parents magazine, and Vanity Fair. She currently resides in Salt Lake City. For more, visit
The article Empowering Our Children to Find Strength in Kindness was written by Jennifer Adams, author of I Am a Warrior Goddess (Sounds True, 2018). For similar books and articles, follow along with our content tagged with Inspirational Books, Jennifer Adams, Kindness, and Picture Book.
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