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Nicole J. Phillips, Published January 24 2014

Kindness is Contagious: A chain-reaction of kindness with birthday gesture

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Kids are key to spreading kindness.

There is an interesting trend happening around town thanks to kids. I first noticed it this past year when my older children, ages 8 and 10, started getting invitations to birthday parties. More times than not, carefully printed on the invite is a note asking the attendee to support a local nonprofit organization by bringing a donation instead of a gift. We’ve purchased items like dog food, dog toys, baby wipes and infant sleepers.

Apparently, north Fargo does not have the monopoly on creative and considerate kids.

Proud grandma Lola Knutson wrote to me because she wanted to share what some terrific second-graders are up to these days.

“My grandson, Lucas, was planning his birthday party with his mom and dad. It is not every day you turn 8, you know. A trip to Thunder Road was in store, they decided. However, when it came to making up a list of birthday gifts he might want, Lucas decided on his own that he wanted to do something for someone else rather than get presents for himself.

“Lucas has always been concerned with others, including packing Christmas baskets at church to buying the crossing guard at school some brand of new mittens when hers didn’t keep her hands warm.

“Concerning his birthday, his mom, my awesome daughter who is teaching me many things about parenting, held up two envelopes that had arrived in the huge stack of mail that had piled up on their counter. Lucas chose the Great Plains Food Bank.

“His birthday guests were asked to bring donations for the food bank instead of gifts. The donations from Lucas and his friends amounted to enough money to buy food for many, many people. I am so grateful to the gal who accepted his donation. She made a big deal out of it for him, and it has deeply affected him in a positive way. The organization even put a picture of Lucas on its Facebook page!

“This part of the story is terrific in itself. But now Lucas has received an invitation to a friend’s birthday party. This little guy is requesting that toys be brought for a toy drive for needy children rather than gifts for him. Lucas is quite excited that he has started a possible ‘chain reaction’ of kindness. His comment to me when he received his invitation was, ‘We may just make this go around the world!’ ”

You’re right, Lucas. We have no idea how or when one act of kindness will multiply and spread light to an entire world. Thank you for using your special day to make a day brighter for someone else.

Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at info@nicolejphillips.com. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107.

Nicole J. Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is an author, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Bison men’s head basketball coach Saul Phillips. Her columns run every Saturday. You can also get a Daily Dose of Inspiration from Nicole at www.nicolejphillips.com.