With summer coming to an end and school days in session for both homeschool and traditional school children, there’s a phrase that keeps echoing through my mind. “Spark good.” With so many pressures on our children during the year, it’s so important to keep kindness at the front of our minds.

It started with this summer when author T.A. Barron shared summer sparks to encourage parents and children to do good in their communities and the world.

In a world where online bullying, hate speech, and just plain lack of consideration are all too common, even a simple act of kindness like holding a door open, paying someone a compliment, or sending a thank you note can make a world of difference. Think of the friend that welcomed you when you moved into your neighborhood. Picture the positivity spread by the cashier at your local grocery store. Get inspired by the kindness of those around you to spark your own movement of compassion and understanding.

Kind acts and good deeds really spark a movement of kindness and benevolence. Start by downloading the summer sparks, 50 ways to create summer sparks, including such deeds as reading to a younger child, picking up trash in the community, and opening a free lemonade stand on a hot day. You can also track the good acts on the free downloadable tracker as well. It’s a good way for kids to hold themselves accountable and it’s fun to see the goodness add up. After a while, kindness will become a habit!

Summer sparks are one thing, but it’s important for our kids to know that goodness doesn’t stop when the heat dissipates and the pool days lessen. T.A. Barron also has a mission to fall into goodness into autumn months and beyond with his Spark Goodness campaign. Using the hashtag #sparkgoodness, you and your family can enter your own good deeds (either from the summer sparks handout or your own ideas). Entries should be submitted on T.A. Barron’s website with a winner and four runners up each month through October 2018. These winners, all who inspire goodness in the world, will be entered for the grand prize (and four runners up) in November 2018 determined by reader votes. Each month has a special prize, so check the website to see what you can win!

The contest has inspired my family and me to spread and “spark” goodness in the world. Share the ways you make a difference and keep the movement going. Think of the difference you’ll make by showing someone just a little bit of kindness.