On the Friday afternoon before Spring Break, or, as we like to call it Spring Break Eve, Queen Mom caught King Dad, sitting in a serious pose, pondering the ever sinking levels of kindness across the kingdom. The Royal Kindness Meter was showing historically low levels.
“What can we do,” he agonized. “So many people are sad and need help, and it seems to get worse each day.”
Queen Mom thought a second and said, “We need to actively recruit kind members of our kingdom to help others. I know . . . we need kind Knights to go on a Kindness Quest and spread joy and kindness wherever they travel!”
“Cracking Kindness! That’s it! Quick, let’s grab our Kindness Kit and tools for our, well, we’ll call them, Kindness Knights. We’ll seek out candidates and knight them, challenging them to take a Kindness Quest Road Trip, being kind to everyone they meet along the way.”
King Dad and Queen Mom grabbed supplies, packed the Royal Kindness Meter and Kindness Kit, and set out!
They traveled across the suburban kingdom seeking quality candidates to join the epic Kindness Quest Road Trip. Along the way, they decided that the Kindness Quest Road Trip would stop along the roads from Dallas to New Orleans and back, spreading kindness along the way.
When they passed the local elementary school, they had to stop by:
Kids can be kind!
Queen Mom and King Dad happened upon two young potential knights coming out of school. Their names: Big Brother and Little Brother. 🙂
King Dad stopped the two young boys and issued them a challenge: To stop the negativity that was spreading through his kingdom and join his fleet of Kindness Knights.
Very surprised but intrigued, both KIDS answered with enthusiastic “YES-es.”
Upon accepting the challenge, King Dad knighted them with the Sword of Generosity, gave them each a Helmet of Discernment to better help them see those in need, and a Shield of Anti-Negativity. With these tools and their magical tokens (acts of kindness supplies), all climbed aboard the Royal Vehicle, the trusty, aging steed of a car and started the Kindness Quest.
“Yes, Knight Big Bro.”
“What exactly affects the kindness meter? How can we really get it to rise?” Kindness Knight Big Brother wanted some further definition of this quest.
“Anything positive that you can do for others, for your family, for strangers, for friends. It all counts. Small acts of kindness, being kind to someone, helping someone that has a need; it all counts.” Queen Mom replied from the front seat, ahem, Front Royal Seat where the Royal Kindness Meter was posed.
“Oh, okay. So, if I compliment someone, does that count?”
“If I tell someone I love them?”
“Okay, I love you, Mom, and think you are beautiful.” Knight Big Brother then eyed the Royal Kindness Meter as if to test the theory. And, sure enough, it did rise!
Satisfied, he sat back and asked us to pull the Royal Vehicle over to the side. Grabbing a bag of treats from the Kindness Kit, he stepped out with Knight Little Brother. Together, they gave the school’s crossing guard a thank you treat and a hug.
And, the Royal Kindness Meter started to rise.
As the Royal Vehicle put miles on the odometer, acts of kindness were added to communities along the way.
- Tipping the car hop at Sonic with an extra nice tip.
- Paying for the people in line behind the Kindness Knights.
- Saying, “I love you,” repeatedly, to each other.
- Tipping the bagger at the grocery store.
- Giving complements to one another.
- Sharing toys and peacefully distributing snacks.
- Telling jokes to make one another smile.
As the first part of the Kindness Quest Road Trip ended, the Kindness Knights reached their destination and continued completing acts of kindness:
- Giving the swamp tour guide a sincere compliment when they tipped him.
- Learning about animal conservation.
- Helping the homeless. (You have to read about how Big Brother gave away his souvenir money.)
- Helping a single mom move. (One of the most touching experiences of the trip.)
- Acts of kindness at the hotel.
- Acts of kindness for the wait staff.
- Making a cranky little girl at the restaurant laugh.
- Picking flowers to decorate Queen Mom’s hat.
- Giving Queen Mom extra time in the art galleries, using great behavior.
Alas, the day came when the Kindness Knights
were needed to return to the kingdom.
Queen Mom re-knighted the Kindness Knights, giving them an extra boost to see the rest of the Kindness Quest Road Trip through with as much energy and vigor as it was started.
The Kindness Knights did indeed continue the Kindness Quest with as much vigor and thoughtfulness as they began.
- Picking up litter everywhere.
- Buying Queen Mom a favorite treat.
- Helping a man change his tire. (Okay, King Dad did the grunt work. But, the Kindness Knights were sure to encourage him to watch out for alligators while on the side of the road.)
Kindness Meter filled up over 7 times during the trip.
(yeah, we took a picture at 6, but we filled it up one more time before arriving home)
Tips for an Acts of Kindness Road Trip:
- Set aside part of the budget for acts of kindness. I know it can be hard to decide to cut an entertaining event to do this. At the same time, the benefits outweigh that sacrifice, you won’t miss it, and odds are that you’ll fill that time helping others.
- Prepare easy acts of kindness.
- Make it fun! We chose to use the idea of a Kindness Quest. You could go with Kindness Treasure Hunt or Scavenger Hunt.
What our family noticed:
- While on the Kindness Quest we had the least amount of arguing of any road trip we had taken.
- As they were looking for ways to up the Kindness Meter, the boys looked for ways to be kind to one another. Pretty soon they were being nice to one another without looking for credit on the Kindness Meter.
- There was no reward for reaching the top of the meter, and they never asked for one. We would just start the Kindness Meter over again when we filled it up.
- Instead of wanting to be entertained, we found ourselves looking for the needs of others as we were going out and experiencing a new place.
- King Dad noticed that he had to be a better driver since he had the words Kindness Quest on the back window (He also felt like it helped him get out of a ticket when he was pulled over—Queen Mom was not in the car at that time).
- Focusing on kindness like this created a precedent to inspire Big Brother to compel us to stop and help a family move. See Helping a single mom move.
- Having Kindness Quest written on our car prompted several conversations. The boys found this topic to be a great conversation starter with strangers, sharing our experiences and building commonalities with others.
- King Dad confiscated the Kindness Knights’ swords to store in the trunk while the Royal Vehicle was in motion.
Note from King Dad
One of my favorite moments of the vacation: Big Brother, Little Brother and I were visiting an alligator ranch. At the end, we had our picture taken, holding an alligator. The photographer said, “Now scoot in close to each other and pretend you love each other.”
Little Brother stood up, and in firm defiance said, “We *do* love each other!”
Note from Queen Mom (Sheila)
I really wanted to spend more time during this trip taking the focus off of entertainment.
- I know that the boys’ behavior is better when they are not fully “entranced” by electronics the entire road trip.
- I have also noticed throughout our experiences of serving others that when the boys are focused on helping others, they are not complaining. And, frankly, long road trips are ripe for complaints.
- And, to be completely transparent, I wanted to spent our money on helping others rather than on toys that would be placed aside after a couple weeks.
I wanted to know: What if we spent more money on helping others during our trip, forgoing some entertainment? Would we miss out? Would we be bored? Would the boys notice?
The answer: The experience was the richest of those we’ve had as a family. We can’t wait to do it again!
I challenge you to take time during your next family vacation to complete acts of kindness. You will be inspired by the experiences. In fact, I needed to write out what happened in several articles, which is why you see the list below.
Completing acts of kindness as a family brings us closer together, helps others in need, creates poignant moments of tenderness, and leaves behind meaningful memories.
For all the articles related to the Kindness Quest Road Trip: