Generally speaking, mothers are nurturing. They are selfless. They are strong and hard working. They are our caretakers, teachers, counselors and cheerleaders. Their unconditional love builds up the next generation. They are the glue that holds families together and they are quite literally the givers of life.
If all goes well, mothers pass on some of these good qualities to their children, who can keep their legacies alive for generations to come.
For Bluffton mom Lauren Brooks, kindness is a value she hopes to impress upon her children. It’s something she shows them through her everyday actions – toward her family, friends and even strangers.
A graphic artist who owns a web and graphic design business, Brooks often shows kindness to others through her creativity. Her three sons have inherited their mother’s artistic talent. Britton, 13, enjoys creating digital art while Braiden, 12, makes origami. Benny, 9, is a natural at drawing.
Years ago, Brooks began creating art for other people’s children to color when eating out at restaurants. She now rarely leaves home without some blank paper and crayons. That way, when she sees an upset or bored child, she can sketch them a picture and slip it to them with a little wink.
While eating lunch at Giuseppi’s Pizza & Pasta in Bluffton recently, Brooks had a sudden urge to create something for two children sitting at the next table.
“I asked my boys if they’d like to participate in a random act of kindness,” Brooks said. “Braiden immediately said ‘Yes!'”
Brooks got busy drawing a beach scene on the back of a kids menu for the little boy next to them, while Braiden created an origami boat to “float atop the waves.” Then she began drawing a picture of a cat with a princess crown for the little girl.
They gave their artwork to the two children and told them they could color them if they’d like. Their parents were a little taken aback at first, but were then very appreciative. When the children were finished coloring, they brought their work over to share with the Brooks family.
“This is my way of spreading acts of kindness, as well as some hopeful inspiration for little budding artists,” Brooks said.
Brooks and her children do this kind of thing all the time now, spreading joy to those around them.
“I hope that in all we do, they learn to honor others with respect, kindness and love,” Brooks said about her sons. “In one simple act, and typically without words, they can show someone that they are heard, seen, loved or that they matter enough for you to take five minutes to make something only for them.”
Amy Coyne Bredeson of Bluffton is a freelance writer, a mother of two and a volunteer with the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance.