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Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

Day 7 Kindness and Respect Challenge (We’re here to help)

October 7, 2013

On Saturday (Day 5 of the Challenge) I drove to Stanford to a Challenge Success student event. My job was to lead two round table discussions. The topic: “Too Stressed to Think?” in which I would help tweens and teens understand the link between being in so-called emergency mode and doing stuff we later regret.

I’ve written a lot about stress over the past eight years. Done countless presentations for kids and the adults who live and work with them. Even though Saturday’s event was at a world-class university, teaching doesn’t rattle me. What did shake me up in advance was the challenge of finding exactly where I needed to be. Stanford is a big place and map-reading is not my thing.

Arriving in the vicinity I asked some students for directions to the Graduate School of Education. They wanted to help, but they were newbies and like I said, Stanford is huge. So they kindly brought over this older guy who knew the campus well. He was kind and patient. Helped me decipher my map (yeah, I had one) then told me a) where to park-no charge on weekends! and b) where my building was.

After the event, heading back to my car, I spotted two confused people peering at a map. I asked them if they were lost. They were looking for the campus bookstore. I admitted I was also a visitor, but I wanted to help them. (Pass it forward, right?) Between their map and my knowledge of the name of the building I had just emerged from, we figured it out.

So, take this into the new week: We’re here to help each other. Sure, there are more self-serving ways to play the game, but I don’t recommend them. For one thing, it feels good to help. For another, there’s karma and being helpful will help you. If you need more motivation to go out of your way to help other people, how about this: it’s the right thing to do. Not always easy, as I told the girl who asked this question, but always right.

Got another minute? Read on:

A girl has bullied me forever. She just got glasses and now people are making fun of her. Should I stick up for her? (from The Girls Q&A Book on Friendship, by Annie Fox, illustrated by Erica De Chavez, © 2014 by Annie Fox and Erica De Chavez. Now available)*

What a great question! Isn’t life interesting the way things can turn around? This girl picked on you, so you might be thinking, “Why should I help her?” The answer is simple: Because she needs a friend right now. Another reason you should help is because you know exactly how bad it feels to be teased. If you stand by and let others make fun of her you’ll be unhappy because you’ll know, deep inside, that you could have done something to make things better.

The answer to your question is yes! Stick up for the girl with the glasses. It’s the right thing to do. But you already know that because you’ve got a hero’s heart (otherwise it wouldn’t bother you that people are making fun of her).

If you help her maybe she’ll learn something about the importance of respect and kindness. Then who knows? This may be the beginning of a great new friendship!

*(Excerpted from my upcoming The Girls Q&A Book on Friendship)

Check out Day 8 of The Kindness and Respect Challenge

UPDATE October 3, 2014: The Girls Q&A Book on Friendship: 50 Ways to Fix a Friendship Without the DRAMA is now available in print and on Kindle (the ebook can be read on any device, your mobile phone, tablet, or computer with the free Kindle reader app). Visit for an excerptreviews, and to order your copy.


1 Comment »

  1. […] out Day 7 of the Kindness and Respect Challenge (Out of kindness and respect for myself I take weekends off […]

    Pingback by Day 4: Kindness and Respect Challenge (Why do I have to say ‘thank you’?) | Annie Fox's Blog — October 8, 2013 @ 11:27 am

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