19 December 2013

Fluffies for the children in retro-chic cups & spoons


Inspired by the success of our candy cane give-away and impressed by the atmosphere of the Welcome Wednesday cafe, we set out on another random act of kindness.

This time, we had organised with the cafe manager to purchase vouchers for morning tea, and a few lunch ones too, so that we could give them away to strangers.


The task was harder than we anticipated as people were busy and had places to be - many were off to medical appointments.  

Unlike handing someone a candy cane, we had to explain where the cafe was, what the voucher entitled one to, when it was open etc.  A lot to take in when you are surprised with the information on the street.

It was also a challenge way outside Atlas and my comfort zones as we are not accustomed to being extroverted and walking up to complete strangers. (We leave that to the children who are great at it!).


The reactions of most were delightful though.  Eyes lit up at simply knowing it was a random act of kindness (something that most people seem to understand), some promised to pass it on.  It didn't appear to matter to others that they weren't able to take us up on the offer, they appreciated the sentiment.


Sadly the cafe ran out of the desserts rather quickly (scones & jam, chocolate cake and then the party cupcakes), the barista wasn't there for the first half hour, and only just over half redeemed their pre-paid vouchers.  The latter was personally really disappointing, as we thought we had gone to the trouble of qualifying that people were able to take up the offer.  In the end I guess it is the thought that counts, and ours was to allow young mums and older folks in particular to enjoy the relaxed environment and take some time out which they may not otherwise have afforded themselves.

Hawke's Bay

Children learn by example - will it be yours or someone else's?

14 December 2013

Up, up and away

[Snapped on a cellphone]

Apparently the children have seen the para-surfers in the inlet several times, but I didn't notice them until today.

We had completed a full afternoon of errands and were heading home when their sails caught my eye like kites in the sky.

So I did what any sieze-the-moment parent would do and pulled off to brave the deeply pot-holed metal track to get a closer look.


Three men in their 30s - 40s were each zipping back and forth on the relative stillness of the water catching the wild wind from the fresh sea.

Every so often they would position themselves to ride the wind and the whole para-surfer lifted metres out of the air and flew.  It was amazing.


We were fortunate to talk to one of the surfers when he was packing up for the day.  He had been para-surfing for the last 8 years at the same place (how unobservant do I feel now ‽).

They can reach speeds up to 50kph; and the riders do so holding on with their bare hands as they are not harnessed to the surfer.


The shadow they cast on the sand banks between the inlet and the sea, when they fly, was magical.  Similar to watching an eclipse, but over and over again.

Hawke's Bay

Try to say 'yes' to your children, whenever and wherever possible - you might be pleasantly surprised.

12 December 2013

One of the beautifully decorated trees on our morning walks

[Snapped on a cellphone]

In the last couple of weeks Atlas has wanted to go for a morning stroll.  So we'll head out early and be walking around before the shops open.  

It's fairly quiet and you can carry on a decent conversation without competing with the hub-bub of vehicle noise or exhaust fumes.

This morning we thought it would add a little richness to the exercise to be able to do something for those we met.  We looked around at what we had at home and packaged up some wrapped sweets and gave away 16 packets on our way into town.

The children showed little hesitation in going up to perfect strangers, greeting them, and offering them a treat. 

It was a delight to see the reactions of others at such a small token gesture too.  Most were genuinely surprised and grateful; some were skeptical; and only a tiny few, unaccepting.

What was originally just a casual idea opened up several conversations with the children about not judging people on their outward appearance, not knowing what is really going on in people's lives behind the smile (or sour face), having a right attitude about giving and so much more.

They were really touched and pumped and started asking about when we could do it again.  

No time like the present is there?!  So we headed over to Napier, for a change of scene, stopping at the supermarket to get 100 candy canes, which we managed to give away there and then later in Havelock North.

Then just when we thought we were ready to call it a day, Vega remembered that there is a night market each Thursday in Hastings, and wanted to go.

The children's enthusiasm to spread a bit of cheer was heartening in itself.  We loaded up with double what I anticipated we would need, given the average success throughout the day and totally broke that limitation two-fold, by giving away another 200 canes!  That's 316 people whose days were hopefully brightened in some way.

What we all learned today was priceless, and I couldn't have constructed any object lesson better than the organic way in which the day unfolded.  It was fabulous!

Addendum: The fun didn't stop there and we ended up getting a few more candy canes and gave away 1000 in total over the following 10 days.

Hawke's Bay

We understand so little about the people we meet.