What do fearlessness and kindness have to do with each other? They’re both characteristics that Hasbro’s new philanthropic initiative, BE FEARLESS BE KIND, hopes to help instill in our children. I’m proud to be a Hasbro Kindness Ambassador and work with them to achieve their goal of empowering our children to be both kind and fearless. I’ll tell you a bit more about that initiative in a minute, but first, let’s talk a bit about what it means to be both kind and fearless.
How does fearlessness fuel kindness?
As someone who has suffered from anxiety disorder most of my life, the word “fearless” is alien to me in so many ways. I’m scared of so many things: driving on the highway, speaking in public, small spaces, wide-open spaces, clowns, heights…the list goes on and on. I don’t want my son to live the same way. I want him to be far more fearless than I’ve ever been.
“Fearlessness” has such a mixed connotation, though. When I hear the word, I think “fears nothing.” As parents, we want our kids to have a healthy fear of things that could endanger them. Fear keeps us from doing crazy things, like jumping out of airplanes without a parachute! Teaching our kids to be fearless, though, is not about teaching them to take dangerous risks. It’s about helping them learn the difference between courageous and dangerous choices. One of those choices- perhaps the most courageous of all- is standing up for others.
Being a kid is tough. The older our kids get, the harder it becomes. My son Jacob is a middle-schooler now. Statistically speaking, bullying happens more in the middle grades than any other time of our children’s school careers. Our kids are in a state of transition academically, physically and emotionally. Expectations are higher, which means their stress levels are infinitely higher than the elementary school years. At the same time, middle- school brings together kids from all over the district. All those new faces mean both new friends and new nemeses. Toss in all the emotions that come along with puberty and middle-school becomes the perfect storm for our children.
Now more than ever, my son is learning what it means to be fearless enough to stand up not just for himself, but for others. It’s my job as his mom to make sure he has the tools to help him develop a sense of courageousness as well as the empathy to know when to use it. Hasbro’s BE FEARLESS BE KIND initiative helps me provide him with those tools.
BE FEARLESS BE KIND Initiative
Hasbro has always helped foster a sense of fearlessness in our kids through play. Board games help our kids learn to take turns as well as both win and lose with grace. Action figures, dolls and other playsets with characters allow kids to set up and work through different scenarios that are on their minds. Other toys encourage teamwork to reach a goal. Playtime isn’t just entertaining, it’s how our children learn to solve problems, work through issues and develop their imaginations. As one of the most widely recognized brands in the world, Hasbro has such an immense opportunity to get through to kids and that take that responsibility very seriously.
The BE FEARLESS BE KIND Initiative offers parents and educators tons of fabulous resources to empower children to be more compassionate and courageous. You’ll find so many ideas in the Empathy Tools & Resources section for kids of all ages. For example, Katherine McHugh, founder and executive director of Awaken Mindfulness & Resilience Training, leads kids in “mindful meditation” through the Serena & the Peaceful Pad series. Check it out:
Mindful meditation helps kids focus their energy and learn how to self-regulate their emotions. This, in turn, gives them the tools they need to take a step back when someone is upsetting them, rather than snap and say something hurtful that they’ll regret later.
You’ll also learn valuable ways to put empathy into action through Hasbro’s partnership with generationOn’s Rules of Kindness Campaign. If you recall, last month I shared an example of an easy kindness jar project that you can do at home with your kids to help them learn and celebrate the Rules of Kindness.
Along with generationOn, Hasbro also partnered with Ashoka and No Bully, Special Olympics, and Rock Your World to help spread the BE FEARLESS BE KIND initiative and reach more children. On the initiative’s website, you’ll find a fabulous toolkit from Ashoka as well as an amazing project guide from the No Bully Peace Summit filled with ideas that you can do with your kids.
Creative Vision’s Rock Your World inspires kids to change the world on a global level by using creative media to take action towards the issues that matter most to them. It’s a free curriculum designed for middle and high school students that, to date, is impacting 684,250 students in 72 different countries.
Meanwhile, Hasbro’s partnership with Special Olympics seeks to unify children of all abilities and teach them to respect each other on a deeper level. The 7th annual Joy Maker Challenge also kicks off this holiday season , encouraging kids to spread holiday joy to those who really need it. For every child that volunteers, Hasbro will donate a toy or game to Toys for Tots.
Find out more about all the partnerships, download the toolkits and learn more about how you can encourage empathy in your kids at BEFEARLESSBEKIND.com.
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