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Cards For Kids Planet Fitness

The Benefits of Kindness & How Planet Fitness Is Paying It Forward

One of the things I am always conscious about is the fact that, because of this blog, my children get to experience things that a lot of other children do not. They have had toys sent to them, met their favourite major league baseball players and been treated like VIP’s at numerous events we have attended. My concern has always been that the kids will become entitled and think that everything in life will be handed to them, when we all know that this isn’t the case.

That’s why my wife and I have been having some really great conversations with kids lately about the importance of kindness and giving back to those less fortunate, and the kids have responded in amazing fashion. They have both agreed to create a giving jar, where they will put away a portion of any money they earn, to be given to the cause of their choice each month. Further to that, my son recently decided that he would set up a driveway booth where he would sell some of his hockey cards, with all the proceeds going to charity.

Cards For Kids Planet Fitness

This month, their earnings will be going to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada! We are also happy to be teaming up with Planet Fitness, the innovative health club franchise known for its Judgement Free Zone® and affordable prices. Planet Fitness will be inviting Canadians to join their clubs for $5 down and as low as $10 a month, which includes donating 100% of the enrollment fees to Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada as part of their Judgement Free Generation™ initiative! This incredible campaign runs October 2-13.

Give Jars Planet Fitness

Planet Fitness has also challenged my kids, and children everywhere, to display what a bullying-free world looks like to them, or to show an act of kindness. If you feel like sharing your child’s vision or act, you can do so by tagging Planet Fitness Canada on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and by using the hashtag #JudgementFreeGen! Furthermore, if you have been debating that gym membership, there’s no better time than now to head into of Planet Fitness’s 15 locations across Canada!

Planet Fitness Canada Picture

Here’s more information on Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada:

Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada is dedicated to supporting and encouraging children and youth as they discover, develop and achieve great futures. They are a national charity serving 96 member Clubs that provide services to 200,000 young people in 625 locations across Canada. For 116 years, They have welcomed children, youth and their families into Clubs that reflect the diversity of Canada in small and large cities, and rural and Indigenous communities. Visit www.bgccan.com and follow them at www.facebook.com/bgccan and www.twitter.com/bgccan.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Planet Fitness. The opinions on this blog are my own.

To The Woman In Seat 19D

I’m not sure you realize the magnitude of your actions. You see, we were all very excited for our first real family vacation. We were off to Disney World, every child (and parent’s) dream trip. Things didn’t go exactly as planned. In fact, things went the exact opposite of anything I could have ever planned. 

Our first flight was cancelled at 9pm on the eve of the trip, long after the kids had gone to bed with dreams of mouse ears in their heads. My wife and I struggled with the notion of how to tell them the trip would have to wait another day. Luckily, we managed to get another flight out of town very early in the morning.

The kids woke this morning with an excitement I have never seen and may never see again. “DISNEY, DISNEY!!” they shouted as they doled out thousands of pirouetting hugs. This, is the reason we get into this game called parenting. Those smiles, that love of the magical unknown. 

It only took five minutes after we arrived at the airport to be told that our flights were overbooked and we were getting bumped. I pointed to the kids and muttered, “but, Disney”, to the woman, who shrugged and apologized. We avoided disappointment the first time but it seemed inevitable at this point. Then out of nowhere, another agent called us over with good news. A NEW flight for us to try our luck with. Relief. 

We got on the plane and hit our connecting city. Success! One flight to go until the magic begins and nothing could go wrong. I excitedly printed the boarding passes to our final destination and noticed that we were all spread out in different seats. No problem, the airline will help us out, right? Wrong. The airline said that I would have to figure it out on my own which meant that I had to grovel with passengers, who were probably as exhausted as I was, to see if they would switch with me. It was more uncomfortable than anything I have ever done in my life. 

That’s where you come in. I had a 1 in 4 shot at finding a match and I was 0 for 3. I’m not going to lie, even though I understand that nobody owed me anything, I was baffled at how the others could stare at my crying child, who was petrified to sit alone, and not bat an eye as they rejected my offer. But not you. I could tell that you booked your aisle seat on purpose and I know that you really didn’t want to move but you did it anyway, without hesitation. I just hope you can understand how agonizing it was for me to have to ask you to take my middle seat and also how deeply I appreciate your act of kindness. 

I have nothing to offer you except words and a wish for all the best things that life can throw your way. You made a disastrous day a million times better and I will never forget that for as long as I live. You are an amazing human being and my whole family thanks you from the bottom of our hearts. If you read this and want some Mickey Mouse ears, please email me, as it’s the least I can do!

Introducing Kindness Canada!

I’m excited and proud to announce a project that we have been working on for a few months now, that is finally coming to fruition. The new website is called, Kindness Canada, and is hopefully going to be a place that will inspire the kindness in everyone.

The initial goal is to start off small by asking you all to submit your stories of kindness, either in written or video form. I don’t know if you are like me but I know that every time I read an uplifting story, I get inspired to want to get out there and do something kind for someone else. And that is the goal of Kindness Canada. It is to take the every day kind acts that we see and hear about and turn them into an inspirational and interactive storybook for all to read.

We have also created The Big List of Random Acts but need your help in filling it out. You are invited to submit your random acts of kindness and each week we will add a new random act to the list.

There is much more in the works for the site, including events, random act blitzes and finding a way to start giving back. In the meantime, I hope you will consider submitting your kindness stories, posts about what kindness means to you and your random acts, so that we can turn this into something inspirational and spectacular!

I would like to give a quick shout out to the people who made this vision a reality. Our Kindness Ambassadors are Rebecca Stanisic from A Little Bit of Momsense, Amber Rehman from Fatekeep and Patricia Oliver from Positively Pampered Patty. Finally, a very special Thank You goes out to the man behind the web design of both this page and the Kindness Canada page, Mr. Shawn Merrikin of Shawn Merrikin Web Design & Hosting. Without him, I would completely lost and that is not just lip service, as I would be quite literally lost…

All that’s left to do is to let the Kindness Revolution begin! You can check out the Kindness Canada Website and also follow us on Twitter @KindCanada and our KC Facebook Page. I hope you enjoy the new project as much as I have enjoyed putting it together!

How Canadian Tire Made One Family’s Wish Come True

Canadian Tire

I believe very strongly in the power of giving. In the past few months, I have quietly started practicing a daily random act of kindness. It sometimes involves spending money but often is something as little as opening a door for someone or letting someone in line ahead of me. I never expect anything in return for any of this but I was lucky enough to be the recipient of some excellent news yesterday and I have to share it with you.

You may remember back in February, I posted an awesome commercial from Canadian Tire, that depicted a father and son going to the outdoor rink to skate and bond together. It was, and still is, my favourite commercial of all time. One of the commenters on the post mentioned that they hadn’t been able to afford skates for their boys but hoped it would happen someday. I’ve deleted that portion of their comment for their privacy.

The post faded into obscurity, as most blog posts do, until yesterday when I received an email from the people at Canadian Tire. They thanked me for sharing their commercial and asked for the contact info of the above noted commenter because they wanted to outfit her family with new skates. I’d be lying at this point if I said my eyes were completely dry after reading through their email and they didn’t get any dryer after speaking to the recipient of the gift. If I ever questioned what the ROI of sharing other people’s amazing content was, Canadian Tire answered it in incredible fashion.

I was already impressed with Canadian Tire for the way they portrayed the Dad in their commercial, but helping a family in need just put them way over the top in my books. When you do awesome things, especially in business, awesome things will come back to you. I hope creating two new life long loyal customers was enough for Canadian Tire in this instance, because they absolutely earned it!

Cheers!

What Do I Stand For?

Holding Hands

While discussing my new obsession with the band, “Fun” the other night, Candace Alper from Name Your Tune CD’s asked the following: “Can you answer the question, ‘What do I stand for?’” This was in reference to Fun’s song, Some Nights, where they continually ask this question. We both agreed that while we didn’t have an answer to the question, that it was definitely worth investigating.

So, here I am, still struggling to answer the question but willing to at least start the thought process here with you. I have decided to make a list of the things I stand for and will hopefully be adding future editions to the collection.

What Do I Stand For?

• I believe in being a gentleman. This includes but is not limited to, holding doors for people, being courteous, giving up my seat for women and elderly, treating others with respect.

• I try to make a difference in my community and beyond by giving back to those who are not as fortunate as I am. I have my problems too, we all do, but it’s not hard to set aside some time to help others and this is something I hope my children will carry with them.

Kindness always trumps hate.

• My family is my life. Everything else is secondary.

• I don’t have time for drama, nor will I participate in it.

• Pizza.

• Being a good father is more important to me than writing about being a good father. That being said, this blog has helped me become not only a better father, but a better human being as well.

• Smiling breeds happiness; Negativity breeds negativity. You choose.

• Failing at something doesn’t make you a failure. It just gives you the knowledge to get it right the next time.

• I make no apologies for who I am.

• I’ve made mistakes. Lots of them, actually, and while I have learned a lot from making these mistakes, they certainly do not define me.

• The word ‘retard‘ is not in my vocabulary. It was at one time but it is no longer.

• I do not tolerate bullying in any way, shape or form.

• I believe, perhaps gullibly, that I can make a difference in the world.

That’s all I wanted to share with you for now. It was a difficult exercise to not only think of these things but to also question whether they are things that I actively practice. The great part about making this list is that I am far more conscious of not only what I stand for, but also what steps I need to take in order to further back up the above statements. I highly recommend this exercise for all of you out there as well, whether you are a blogger or not, as it was very eye opening.

I leave you with the song that started the conversation and also with the question, “What do you stand for?”

In Lieu Of A “Year In Review” Post

Kindness Video

I saw this video shared on Candace from Life In Pleasantville‘s Facebook Page and I am hesitant to admit that it caused a strange liquid to form around the corners of my eyes. I was going to write a long, drawn out “Year In Review” post, filled with my goals and hopes for my blog but this video said everything I want out of myself, better than I could.

I want to wish you all a very Happy New Year and I want to say Thank You for making my first year of blogging a memorable one. You have all been so kind to me and it has made me want to be a better father and person in general. I hope you enjoy this video as much as I did. All I know about it is that the song is “Give A Little Love” by Noah and the Whale, and the message is amazing!

Cheers!

Bullied Boy Fights Back With Kindness

Holding Doors

I caught this story on The National the other day and thought it was worth another share. Check out what happened when Clarke Road SS student, Josh “The Doorman” Yandt, started holding doors open for his school mates. I realize that this isn’t the answer for all bullied children, but it’s definitely a cool story in this instance.

The best part about this story is that it carries a message we can all learn from. Kindness breeds kindness. If we all go out of our way to do something nice for someone else, even once a day, we can create a better community to be a part of. Rock on, Josh!

Restoring My Faith In Humanity

Tim Hortons

I’m not sure, in my lifetime, that I have felt as emotionally drained as I do right now. Between family illnesses, lack of sleep and what happened in Connecticut last week, I haven’t been able to find a lot of room for happy thoughts. Just as I began to sink into hibernation, I received an email from the PR department at Tim Hortons.

The last thing I was looking for was to start working on a new project. My plate was already pretty full and I have to keep reminding myself that blogging is a hobby and not my real job. Before I opened the email, I had already located my standard, copy and paste, “Thanks but I can’t accept any new projects at this time” response. Luckily, I read the email because what they were proposing was the exact thing I needed at that very moment.

They were offering to send me 50 – $5 gift cards for their Random Cups of Kindness promotion, that I was allowed to hand out to whoever I saw fit. I accepted immediately and waited with anticipation for the cards to arrive. I wasn’t really sure how I was going to distribute the cards and as it turns out, the experience was a lot more uplifting than I could have imagined.

I began my adventure by leaving two cards at the Tim Hortons drive-thru, for the next two cars in line. The person at the window looked at me like I was nuts but by the end of the week; they were expecting me and knew the drill. I never saw any of the recipients of the gift cards but I was encouraged by how happy it made the employees inside the store. I was determined to not let my pneumonia slow down my mission and soldiered on. I surprised parents and teachers at my son’s school. I visited a couple stores that I constantly get excellent customer service from and surprised them with special gifts. I handed them out to people who looked like they hadn’t smiled in a long time and I even gave one to Santa Claus at the mall, because, well, Santa needs love too!

Just watching the smiles on people’s faces as I handed them the cards would have been enough for me to enjoy the experience, but hearing comments like “I really needed this” and “You really have made my day”, pushed the experience over the top. Oddly enough, my favourite part of the campaign came when my daughter fell and cut her mouth, which sent us to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Don’t worry, she is fine and didn’t require any stitches, but it gave me the chance to hand out gift cards to parents of sick kids and also to some of the wonderful staff at CHEO. This was the point where I really started getting emotional about what I had been fortunate enough to be a part of.

It might sound silly and exaggerated, and I’ll never be able to accurately capture my feelings in words but this experience has really changed me. It’s changed the way I interpret what is important in my life versus what is unnecessary extras. Giving is important. Making people smile is important. Helping others is important and family is the most important of them all. Money and feuds and impatience and anger are not important, they are just distractions from what we should really be focusing on.

I realize that Tim Hortons’ “Random Cups of Kindness” was a marketing campaign designed to create a buzz for the brand, but whether they realized it or not, they have touched some people’s lives at a time when it was most important to do so. There was no compensation for this campaign, nor was any expected. I wasn’t required to write, tweet, speak or do anything else but hand out the cards and bring smiles to people’s faces, which I gladly did.

I want to say Thank You to Tim Hortons for including me in this amazing promotion and for restoring my faith in the good things that people are capable of doing for each other. They were only $5 gift cards but I am a different person for having done it. If more big companies did what you have just done, the world would be a better place, even if only a little bit better.

Happy Holidays Everyone! I am wishing nothing but the best for all of you in the New Year!

Chris

The Best Blogging Advice I Ever Received

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s hard to believe that it has been 7 months already since I started Canadian Dad. Truthfully, had this domain name not been available, I probably wouldn’t have started it at all. I’m glad it was!

There’s been tremendous up’s and down’s so far and I’ve learned a lot about the world of blogging. Everyone has different opinions on what is acceptable and what is not, some with stronger opinions than others but that comes with the territory. I agree that there are things I see that are off putting but I also understand that as long as you are not breaking the law, it’s your space to do as you see fit with it.

With all the “rules” that float around the blogosphere, there is one piece of advice I have received from two different people now, that has stuck with me. I was lucky enough to latch myself on to an amazing group of Canadian bloggers, where I had the chance to meet Shannon Mischuk of Shasher’s Life fame. I was a little lost about the whole blogging thing, especially with the unwritten rules, when Shannon summed up all I needed to know in two words.

Be Kind

It couldn’t be that easy, could it? What about the content? The review/giveaway debates? The Drama! There had to be more to it than that! People don’t want kindness, they want shock and awe! I’ve found over the past few months that there is a market for all types of personalities in the blogging world and have been working hard to try and carve my niche. I have also been using the advice Shannon gave me as the bar for all my interactions.

Flash Forward to a couple weeks ago and I had the opportunity to go spend a day with Ford Canada. More importantly, I got a chance to meet some of the most influential bloggers in Ottawa. Included in that group was Shannon McKarney, who wears many hats but who I associate with her home blog of Zchamu Dot Com.

Not that I had any preconceived notions of how the other bloggers would treat me but I just assumed as the newbie and only male, that I would have a hard time forcing myself into conversations. These were people who had been around the scene for awhile and most likely didn’t have time to coach a rookie. Well, I could not have been more wrong! Not only were they welcoming but they were very willing to dole out advice from their years of blogging. Shannon said something to me towards the end of the evening that I had previously heard somewhere else.

“The best advice I can give you, is to Be Kind.”

There it was again! I don’t know about you but when two influential people say the exact same thing, I listen. Not that I wasn’t already trying to be my jovial self in my interactions with people but it was definitely reaffirming to hear it from the people I looked up to.

It can be an intimidating experience to put yourself out there to be judged by your peers but I’ve found that the advice I received from the two Shannon’s has been invaluable in connecting with other bloggers and also with brands. Now that I’ve been on the scene for a bit, I’m really noticing that this one trait is actually more valuable than having perfect numbers and endless followers. It sounds fun to be able to sit at the top of the mountain but not if you have to sit there alone and disliked.

All that said, I’d like to thank not only Shannon & Shannon (Not an official Law Firm) for the great advice, but I’d like to thank everyone in the blogging community for being so welcoming and open to sharing their wisdom with me. It has been an amazing experience so far and I’ve only just begun!

I’ve now come to my chance to Pay It Forward in a way. I don’t know if anyone really reads my blog but if you are reading this right now and you are looking for some guidance, the best advice I can offer you is also the best advice I have ever received…

Be Kind.

Cheers!