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Paying It Forward with a Random Act of Kindness

Thank you to Google for sponsoring this post on keeping it kind online. All opinions and thoughts on paying it forward, random acts of kindness and cyberbullying are my own.

Pink and white text on black background reading Paying It Forward with a Random Act of Kindness

Before I dive into how I’m going to be paying it forward with a random act of kindness, I want to speak with you on a real level. This topic is about the opposite of being kind and affects many people.

Cyberbullying Isn’t Nice!!!

Cyberbullying is becoming an ever-growing problem, and it’s not just the number one online issue for kids in the classroom. It’s not just a problem for young people. It’s a problem for people of all ages, including “grown-ups.” And I feel that “grown-up” cyberbullying is something that isn’t spoken about enough.

From people getting angry at people over divisive online issues and name-calling, to threats to cyber-attacks and ultimately leading to physical attacks, it seems to cyberbully is becoming more common. It’s sad.

We’ve Been Cyberbullied

We’ve recently had a lot of horrible stuff happen to us online behind the scenes due to cyberbullying. Since around the time I initially got sick, someone has been “attacking” Happy Mothering repeatedly with negative SEO and traffic attacks.

What that means is that someone is taking images from our top-performing blog posts and creating single-page adult sites with our images in them linked back to Happy Mothering. And other attacks include sending thousands of requests to our hosting server trying to crash it. I just don’t understand why people can’t just be nice.

Not in Our Home!!!

In our home, we put kindness first. And we don’t just say “be kind” to our daughters… we model that behavior. Both my husband and I are the type of people to go out of our way to be kind, including when we’re online.

It breaks my heart when I see people behaving in ways online that they would never act in real life. It sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s one of the many reasons we allow our daughters on social media. We want to be able to teach them how to conduct themselves online and to spot harmful behaviors from day one.

Don’t get me wrong. We do use a free app to monitor online activity on their phones. And we go through what they’ve done online with them regularly and have conversations about it.

I believe it’s working because, at the ages of only 9 and 11, they already understand that online bullying is an issue. And they know to come talk to us if they see something that doesn’t look right to them – because they have come and shown us many things they wanted to discuss.

The Most Important Lesson: Kindness

Most importantly of all, they understand that being kind online is just as important as being kind in real life. Treat others how you want to be treated – online and offline – because how we treat each other online affects the offline world too. And it feels good.

Google has a fun little game called Interland that you can play with your kids to help them learn more kindness skills. Zoë and Kaylee had a blast with it and even earned a little certificate for their efforts.

Be Internet Awesome certificate from Google for Zoë and Kaylee for paying forward a random act of kindness

After they went through the game, we sat down and talked about what they learned. Then we started talking as a family about some different ways that we could be kind online.

Here are a few of the kindness ideas we came up with:

  1. Write a positive comment on a friend’s picture
  2. Offer to help a friend that posted a request or share it if you can’t help
  3. Check local forums to find people in need, and offer help when you can
  4. Share a friend’s article with your friends
  5. Send an uplifting message to a friend
  6. Report negative behavior like online bullying when you see it
  7. Come to someone’s aid who is being bullied
  8. Perform good deeds for a neighbor

We’ve Experienced Kindness

Since I’ve been sick, we’ve experienced some very thoughtful in person random acts of kindness to our family. One highlight is friends and family bringing us food for dinner or getting a gift card for online food delivery (Brian cooks dinner from scratch every night so it’s nice for him to have a break every once in a while).

Other times friends have helped us with getting to doctors’ appointments or watching the girls. And the best is when friends just show up and offer to help us around the house and yard without us even needing to ask.

We’ve also experienced some amazing acts of kindness online. So many friends have been liking, sharing and commenting on our social media and sharing our blog posts. Other family and friends have been doing their online shopping after checking out the recommendations through our Amazon Influencer Store, which is huge as we make a small commission from all purchases made on Amazon through our store. And everyone who has offered to help with our blog is so nice.

These things may not seem like much, but to us they’re giant. All of the help we get right now is very much appreciated.

It’s really hard to ask for help. It’s humbling when people do offer to help and follow through… and it’s even more humbling when they do random things to help you when you don’t ask, just because they know it’ll help.

We want to do that for someone else.

Our Random Act of Kindness

When Google approached us to work with them on this campaign, it couldn’t have come at a better time. This message of paying forward a random act of kindness is so important and it’s something we as a family are passionate about.

While I love the list we came up with, the thing is… we felt like we wanted to do something bigger for someone because these things are already part of our family culture. We wanted to do more. We’ve had a really rough year and a half as a family with my illness, and we know we’re not the only ones going through something so difficult.

We started discussing who out of our friends, with an online business, could really use some help. We wanted it to be someone with kids who is going through their own health and business challenges that could use a hand up.

Jennifer Nitrio You Deserve This!!!

And the person we decided to help was our friend Jennifer Nitrio of Hybrid Rasta Mama and Mold Help for You.

Jen is a super kind and amazingly genuine person. I’ve known her for years. The best way I can describe her right off the bat is that Jen’s a good human. You know… the type of person who you root for and really want to win in life. That’s the type of person she is.

Jen’s been through many struggles over the past few years. She’s repeatedly been forced to move due to at-home mold issues affecting her and her family’s health. Jen’s experienced crazy ups and downs in the blogging world and she’s just been through a lot.

Even though she’s been going through trying times, Jen has kept her head up and has kept moving forward. She’s held steady on her mission to educate and help people understand the dangers of mold. She works tirelessly to grow her business… and takes breaks to help others in whatever way she can, whether it’s giving great advice to new bloggers or offering a helping hand to a friend in need.

Jen has repeatedly been forced to move due to mold issues affecting her health. She’s been through many struggles. And even with all of that, she’s kept on her path of helping people online with Hybrid Rasta Mama.

What’s more? She has been doing that while putting her all into becoming a Certified Mold Inspector and building the best mold resource website on the Internet, Mold Help For You. Her new site is dedicated to helping others going through the same issues with mold as she has. She cares so much about every person she helps.

And, on top of that, Jen is a single mom whose blogging income supports her and her daughter. Jen is one strong woman who we’re proud to call a friend, and we’d love the opportunity to offer her a gift of kindness.

Blog Audit & Business Consultation

You may not be aware, but we have another business, Crazy Dad Speaks LLC, where my husband Brian offers Blog Coaching & Business Consulting. His Mini-Blog Audit isn’t so “mini” as it’s a 4-hour consultation. His consultation covers an amazing amount of information from search engine optimization, content optimization, affiliate strategies and so much more. And it’s all topped off with a Business Strategy Plan.

Brian has really been able to help some fellow bloggers get their businesses moving in the right direction. We wanted to be able to offer that to an online friend who could really use it.

Jen… we would like to offer you a free Mini-Blog Audit for your business, which will also include SEO Audit Reports for both of your sites. We hope that this investment of time from Crazy Dad Speaks will help propel you closer to your goals!

Pay It Forward: Take the Kindness Challenge

It’s cool to be kind. If you want kind kids, you need to lead by example!

Paying it forward with random acts of kindness doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy… they can be the smallest things (check out the list above for some ideas). It’s one area of life where it’s truly “the thought that counts.”

I challenge these friends to do a random act of kindness, or an act of kindness for a friend who isn’t expecting it, within 48 hours:

  1. Jennifer Nitrio from Hybrid Rasta Mama
    • We’re encouraging you to pay forward the random act of kindness in some way. You already do so much, but we know hope that you’ll be inspired enough by our act to pay this one forward too.
  2. Nini Maggiora from Have Family Will Adventure
    • Our friends Nini and Michael, along with their kids, just set off for a 1-year adventure traveling around the world. They left San Diego, went to Hawaii and right now are in Australia. Nini has a giant heart and is one of the nicest people I know.
    • Nini, I choose you because I know you will have so much fun doing it. And I really can’t wait to see what your random act of kindness will be.
  3. Lisa Mawson aka GranolaMum3
    • Lisa is one of my childhood friends that I met through Girl Scouts. She’s a strong woman, great mom and she has a heart of gold.
    • Lisa, you’re always doing your best to spread kindness regardless if it’s in person or online. This makes me so happy. I know you’ll also have fun doing a random act of kindness for someone, which is why I choose you.
"Change the Conversation. Be Kind Online. - Happy Mothering

Stand Up Against Cyberbullying

Just because I didn’t call you out personally doesn’t mean you can’t participate in doing a random act of kindness! I would love to see a movement of kindness sweep across the Internet. I’d love for every one of you to feel inspired to stand up against cyberbullying and to do something nice for someone else who really needs it.

If you feel inspired by our random act of kindness, and I hope you are, I challenge you to pay forward an online or in-person random act of kindness of your own.

And I would love to hear about your random acts of kindness. Please tag me when you share online so that I can give you a virtual high five by commenting and liking. I want to see the kindness to spread far and wide!

Learn More About Online Kindness

Learn more about how to be kind online with Google’s Be Internet Awesome Family Guide. And be sure to check them out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for regular updates.

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