Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from ACM, which has more than 100 mastheads across Australia. Today's is written by ACM executive editor James Joyce.
Today, November 13, is World Kindness Day.
Of course, every minute of every day is an opportunity for us to show kindness.
So, maybe get on that!
Publisher ACM and our network of trusted local news sites and newspapers and popular newsletters like the Voice of Real Australia newsletter are the official media partner of the Kindness Factory and we're proud to support its mission to make the world a kinder place.
Established in 2015 by former elite cricketer Kath Koschel, the not-for-profit Kindness Factory encourages acts of generosity and thoughtfulness and offers educational resources to schools to coach children in positivity and resilience.
To mark World Kindness Day, we invited creative Aussie kids aged 4 to 13 to help the Kindness Factory design mascots for each of the 12 attributes of kindness.
Today, across the ACM network's websites and in the print editions of our 14 daily newspapers, we're showcasing the winning illustrations by some very talented young doodlers, drawers and designers.
Submitted via schools or parents, these creations will be transformed into a family of characters that will feature in the Kindness Curriculum developed by the Kindness Factory for use in schools around Australia.
Below we reveal the funny and funky figures in their original, acoustic, straight-to-the-fridge-door form.
Tell me they don't have the makings of an adorable collect-them-all series to rival Mr Men and Little Miss or whatever cartoon characters the big supermarkets and fast food chains are plugging this week!
From "Collaboration Pizza" to "Self-Acceptance Sammy the Hotdog", "Empathy Echidna" and "The Eye of Perspective", this wildly imaginative and more-than-a-little-bit-kooky assortment of feel-good do-gooders might just be the injection of wholesome cuteness the world needs right now.
So, as they say in those big superhero movies (if those movies starred a bunch of super-kind heroes opening a can of heavy calibre kindness on the world): Attributes Assemble! Kindness Crew, transform and roll out!
(Yes, one of the Kindness Crew even comes with his own actual superhero cape. Thank you for your oh-so dependable service, "Trust Machine". Nice abs!)
Each of the wonderfully wacky characters introduced below represents one of the Kindness Factory's 12 attributes of kindness, so we have kindly included a brief summary of each attribute. How many will you tick off your to-do list this World Kindness Day?
The Kindness Factory says collaboration is evident when a group of people come together and contribute their expertise for the benefit of a shared objective or project. Successful collaboration and teamwork requires communication (verbal, non-verbal, and written), active listening, social awareness, taking turns, problem-solving, respect and cooperative spirit.
Compassion is the capacity to understand the emotional state of another person, have genuine feelings for other people's circumstances and feel motivated to support and assist them. Compassion requires action. It is not a skill you can learn simply by watching. A truly compassionate person becomes an active participant.
Empathy is the awareness and understanding of another person's thoughts, feelings and circumstances. In an ever-changing world, appreciating and being sensitive to the experiences, backgrounds, and cultures of others is essential.
Gratitude is a feeling or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive. Gratitude is an emotion like appreciation - taking the time to appreciate what you have is one of the keys to cultivating gratitude.
Honesty is defined as fairness and straightforwardness of conduct . When you speak the truth and act truthfully, you are being honest. It is often connected with sincerity, integrity and trustworthiness.
Humility means "the state of being humble". Being humble allows a person to acknowledge their limitations, imperfections and mistakes. It means learning to value yourself in a way that isn't dependent on out-performing other people or being the best. Being humble also means putting the needs of another person before your own and thinking of others before thinking of yourself.
Humour is defined as a quality in something that makes you laugh. It could be a situation, someone's words or actions, something that is heard or seen. If you are in good humour, you feel cheerful and happy, and are pleasant to people. Humour is considered a character strength because it can be used to make others feel good, to build relationships, and to help buffer stress resulting in increased feelings of emotional well-being, cohesion and optimism.
Mindfulness is the quality of being present and fully engaged with whatever is happening in the moment and meditation is how you can learn mindfulness. Mindfulness meditation is a way to deeply experience a moment and integrate that awareness into your everyday life. Being fully present, taking a breath and not being beholden or reactive to suggestions and feelings requires careful attention to thoughts, feelings and environment.
Having perspective is the ability to look beyond your own point of view, so that you can consider how someone else may think or feel about something. It's where you consider someone else's thoughts and feelings about something and maybe see things from an alternative angle. When you can see another person's perspective, you are more likely to be empathetic, anticipate someone else's behaviour or thinking, handle conflicts peacefully, be less judgmental, value differences and act in ways that are more helpful, supportive and kind.
Positivity is the practice of focusing your mind affirmatively on the good and constructive aspects of something to minimise negative or destructive attitudes and emotions. Having a positive mindset is a mental and emotional attitude and suggests an optimistic rather than pessimistic outlook on life. A positive mindset encourages and motivates others making them feel good which builds friendly, caring and safe environments.
Self-acceptance is having awareness of - and satisfaction with - your strengths and weaknesses. It's the non-judgmental and realistic assessment of your own talents, capabilities and general worth. Self-acceptance contributes to how you feel about yourself and acknowledging that you are of "unique worth". When we're self-accepting, we're able to embrace all facets of ourselves - not just the positive, more "esteem-able" parts.
Trust is the confidence that a person or group of people has in the reliability of another person or group. It is the degree to which you feel you can depend on the other party to do what they say they will do. Trust has many benefits, including increased optimism, higher levels of self-confidence, lower stress levels, peace of mind and more meaningful social connections.
Thank you to all of the children who entered the competition and generously shared their creative ideas. Thanks also to the mums and dads and grandparents and teachers who encouraged their participation.
The Kindness Factory judges said the overall winner of the mascot competition was Katie Keane, of Port Fairy in Victoria.
Her drawing of a hotdog called "Self Acceptance Sammy" was "a very clever way of showing that you just need to embrace who you are without judgement".
To log an act of kindness or find out more about the Kindness Factory go to kindnessfactory.com
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