I wake up fairly early in the morning, get showered, dressed, and grab a quick cup of tea before beginning my daily wrestling match of trying to get the kids out of bed for school. As I run around frantically getting breakfast and lunch ready, I flick on the television - just to catch up on what I missed during the night. And that’s when it starts. Car crashes, murders, fires, abductions, genocide and of course the endless ‘War on Terror’ related nonsense that makes my stomach ache just listening to it. This is how I, along with so many other people, start our day. And it doesn’t stop there – all day long, on the radio on the way to work, news alerts on my phone, social media, people talking in the hallways and even as I end my day and nestle into bed with my laptop…It’s dark. It’s scary. And it’s very real.
I used to think that it was something that only adults thought about. I have always been in favour of teaching my kids about injustice in our world, but liked to think that I did it in the comfort of my bubble wrapped approach – shared what I wanted them to know or learn from – and kept all the more traumatic stuff to a minimum. A couple of weeks ago my 7 year old daughter came into my room because she was having nightmares (something that is not uncommon for her). She told me that she was hearing crying babies and screaming mothers…bombs exploding as they would in a war. So much for sheltering them. Kids see and hear everything that is going on around them and not addressing it just makes them more fearful and confused.
As a family, we have started talking more openly about the different conflicts going on around the world, as well as the evils and injustices people face in our own country. But that isn’t nearly enough to ease young minds…there needs to be something to counter the fear and darkness. This is where ‘The GOODness Movement’ comes in. A few years back, my family and I started delivering random acts of kindness throughout the month of Ramadan. We call it our ‘30 Days of Ramadan GOODness’ - for (and with) our family, friends, and community. It was great to see so many families get involved and actively counter all the sadness and hate.
But GOODness for the month of Ramadan didn’t seem to be enough, in order to really change the way we think and view our community, it had to be an ongoing commitment. As a family (extended of course), we challenged ourselves to complete one act of GOODness a week (and hopefully many more in-between), some will be big and some will be small, but no matter what the deed, we hope to spread some serious smiles all around! We’re calling it ‘The GOODness Movement – Families inspiring, one deed at a time’. Taking part in GOOD deeds with the entire family encourages children to be kind, allows adults to give back in a special, yet simple way and creates a closer connection to what really matters in the world, for everyone involved.
We recently found that by sharing our deeds, we were able to encourage other families from all over to take part in spreading some GOODness, which made the impact even bigger. If you are interested in getting involved, check us out on Facebook and help make this world a better place, on deed at a time.
Rabia Din was born and raised in Toronto, ON with strong Pakistani roots. She has a passion for social justice and equality. Rabia has been in the non-profit sector for over 15 years, currently as a Program Manager at North York Community House working with newcomer families. She is married and a mother of three children. For more updates on The GOODness Movement you can connect with Rabia on twitter @Rabia_Din; Facebook: TheGOODnessMovement and her website www.RabiaDin.com.