It’s easy to feel helpless in the wake of tragedy. Many of us wonder what we can do to both encourage ourselves and lift those around us up, all while feeling scared and wondering what the future will look like.
Mary Moore Elementary School in Arlington, Texas, has made it their mission to spread joy and instill confidence in its children this year, and parents helped implement it in a very special way.
The school’s campus theme for the year is Happiness, because according to Principal Tyson Jones, “…we’re needing that now more than ever. We feel that our children are privy to too much negativity in their lives via social media and television.” He goes on to say, “We strongly believe in the power of spreading love, kindness, and positivity through our campus. This idea has been in the works for several weeks, but now feels even a little more powerful after last week’s horrific events in Parkland, Florida.”
The idea? Find beautiful and art-filled ways to speak life and joy into the children, even in little moments like going to the restroom.
Parents spent over 37 hours that weekend painting and hanging the wonderful pieces. They sanded down the doors to bathroom stalls, painted them black, and had creative freedom to encourage little ones who are just so impressionable. Local big box stores donated paint and materials, as well as some local business giving monetary donations to make this project possible.
According to Principal Jones, the idea was thought of weeks ago by a group of parents, but, “the timing with the Florida shooting has definitely made the message have a little more meaning. As we struggle to understand the ‘why’ behind the tragedy, extra kindness and hope is helpful to all,” he says.
We agree. With statements like “Kindness changes everything,” “Your mistakes don’t define you,” and “Let your light shine,” we know that the young ones at Mary Moore will have a chance to stand a little taller, especially in the wake of terrifying events that may not make sense to them at such a tender age.
If you’re wondering how the students have reacted to these lovely cosmetic updates, Jones shares on the original Love What Matters post, “Our 5th graders didn’t know they’d be coming back to this yesterday, and were shocked! They’ve definitely taken a sense of pride and ownership, and have had nothing but exciting things to say about it. They’re all smiles for sure!”
Rachel is a wife and mother living in Raleigh, North Carolina. She’s a fan of good coffee, wearer of gray t-shirts, and is constantly starting books she will never finish. Her family is her joy, and she loves to engage with other moms and dads on matters of parenting. Her blog posts have also been featured on the Today Show Parenting Blog and Scary Mommy.