Ricky Bobby real and illustrated Version2 1000x300

Be Kind Because….

I took a walk with Ricky Bobby the other day – the real Ricky Bobby, who is every bit as cute and a whole lot feistier than my illustration. Trotting along in his squeaky cart with his ears flapping and toenails clicking, he was a magnet for every kid who passed. Some were charmed, others puzzled, and a few simply delighted. “Cool!” one little boy exclaimed. “How fast can he go?”

Time after time we stopped to let the kids introduce themselves and ask questions. The older ones were touchingly circumspect, careful to ask indirect questions about Ricky’s back legs, the diaper he wears and how he became paralyzed. But the younger kids dove right in. “What’s the matter with him? Can he pee by himself? Does his back hurt? Is he friendly? Can I touch him?”

Their avid curiosity, frank questions and clear concern when they heard about Ricky’s past reminded me how important it is to help kids see, feel, touch and practice kindness. Every child who stroked Ricky’s silky ears or got a friendly lick from his overeager tongue while we talked was learning kindness through the senses. And every child who heard his story walked away with a simple lesson – it’s good to care, it’s good to want to help, and you can make a difference.

So my simple message to every parent, educator and librarian out there is get behind “Be Kind” because there’s no greater lesson than the power of kindness to create positive change in the world. Just ask Ricky Bobby.


Copyright 2015 by Jena Ball. All Rights Reserved.