02 Cultivating Mindfulness and Empathy in Children with My Kindness Calendar’s Maran Stern-Kubista

Apr 25, 2021 | Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Episodes, Impact Business

My Kindness Calendar's Maran Stern-Kubista



In today’s episode, we chat with Maran Stern-Kubista from My Kindness Calendar. We learn why she left life as an opera singer and a career in law behind to build a brand based on kindness. How she’s turning a business, built with a seasonal product into something that makes sales all year long. How her new products are inspired by the resilience of children during COVID times. And why it’s so important to cultivate a kindness practice at home.

If you want to learn more about Maran and her kindness and mindfulness activities, visit mykindnesscalendar.com. Follow the link in the nav for freebies and get your own Mail-A-Hug printable, and delight someone from afar. You can follow along with Maran on her mission to spread kindness on Facebook or Instagram. 


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About the Host


I'm Jennifer Myers Chua. The Host and Producer of the Cost Of Goods Sold podcast. I'm an entrepreneur, a creative, a cookbook fanatic, mother.  I have always been interested in hearing people's stories and I've been determined to change the world for as long as I can remember.

You'll find me at home in Toronto deconstructing recipes, listening to podcasts, enjoying time with friends or wandering alone through a big city.  I'm excited to have you here. Let's do better, together.


Episode Transcript

Jennifer Chua: Hello, everyone. And welcome. You’re listening to cost of goods sold with Jennifer Myers Chua Episode 02.

In today’s episode, we chat with Maran Stern-Kubista from My Kindness Calendar. We learn why she left a life as an opera singer and a career in law behind to build a brand based on kindness. How she’s turning a business, built with a seasonal product into something that makes sales all year long. How her new products are inspired by the resilience of children during COVID times. And why it’s so important to cultivate a kindness practice at home

Maran Stern-Kubista:  I’m Maran Stern-Kubista and I’m the founder and creator of My Kindness Calendar.

Jennifer Chua: If you’ve made it through the last year, chances are you’ve relied on the kindness of others. And we’ve seen a lot of kindness in our area. Neighborhoods rallying for the local small businesses, friends leaving notes and well-timed treats on doorsteps. Strangers have been volunteering to grocery shop for those stuck inside.

It’s never been more clear how powerful a bit of kindness can be. But today, our a story starts far from my neighborhood in Toronto with a woman on the way to Zanzibar. Frantic to get on a flight. She realizes that she doesn’t have enough to pay her fare. Some kind strangers fellow travelers pitched in to get her on board because they were happy to help. And years later, the woman track them down to thank them for their generosity and tell them of her adventure. One of the travelers who helped pay for the ticket was Maran Stern-Kubista. And that email, it warmed her heart then, but she’s been thinking about it for years after the fact.

Maran Stern-Kubista:  It resonated with me, you know, how somebody can think about these things years later. It made an impact that always makes me smile because it brings, really nice memories from a fun time in our life. But that idea that, you just never know the impact that something’s going to make on someone short-term or long-term really, it’s powerful.

Jennifer Chua: Maran has a lot of interesting stories, just like this. Because she’s well-traveled and she’s interested in both the world and the people within it. She has a fascinating, diverse resume. She’s been an opera singer, a Bay Street lawyer. She worked at a music label and spend time working in the nonprofit world and youth leadership development and social change. Her huge passion for volunteerism and making a difference. It’s easy to see, but it wasn’t until she became a stay at home mom, (which was a surprise to everyone). That Maran had the urge to start a brand new adventure.

Maran Stern-Kubista:  There’s lots of little bits that have all led me to, to where I am the journey to be an entrepreneur was never something that I aspired to or planned to do. It really is a business and a product that was born from my experience as a mom. And I’d say all of those things on the resume help to set you up for success on this very unique journey of entrepreneurship, which is, a whole other adventure on its own.

Maran ended up leaving the job that she loved because she also loved being a mom. And she credits her mom for teaching her the importance of being kind.

Maran Stern-Kubista:  As I think about my mom, she just, she did everything for us. And she was always trying to make people, specifically us as her kids, you know, feel special and valued. We had the joy of being at the receiving end of that. Just putting that extra effort and that extra time and care to show people they matter. So I will, I’ll have to thank my mom for that.

Before My Kindness Calendar, which came about really right after I’d had my second, I think I was fully a hundred percent engulfed in motherhood and thinking, exclusively about the kids.  I think of moms who start these businesses with little ones. You’re like up all night nursing sleep deprived, and somehow you think it’s a good idea to start a business. Which, factually is when your capacity is at its lowest in some ways, but that need to reawaken different parts of yourself or that need to have something to focus on that’s not exclusively the children to help make me a better mom.

Jennifer Chua: So the product itself, the My Kindness Calendar. It’s a reusable wall calendar. And it’s meant to inspire families to do daily acts of kindness together to help instill kindness and empathy. And Martin started out with one for advent, more of a traditional Christian Christmas calendar, but has since expanded into one that can be used for any holiday named the Be Kind All The Time. After seeing the impact on children throughout the COVID pandemic, My Kindness Calendar launched a set of mindful magnets to help children with developing social, emotional skills, (but more on that later.)

Maran Stern-Kubista: I worked, in youth development and some time overseas doing not-for-profits and that kind of thing. So this idea of gratitude and understanding how you live and how you want to impact how others live and having the opportunity to work with young people and see how they are able to and strive to make a difference and empowering them to understand they can. That’s you know, I was like the student’s council co-pres this is deep within me is like a person. So to be able to execute some of that professionally, it was always exciting. Even in, in anything in my time, as an artist in my time, like in a law firm what really makes the experiences or made any experience, a positive one? The people and the environment that you surround yourself with. And you want to be with them, people who are kind.  And all of my jobs, it was the people and it was finding people who are kind good people. When I became a parent, it was so at the top of my list of things that I wanted to instill in my kids, just again, it’s overwhelming. Like how can you help these people become who they are going to be? What are you to teach them as a parent? There’s so much, but for me, I thought if I can just help them realize and help them become  kind people who think about others that no matter where life takes them they will be set up for success. And that that’s been the experience that I’ve had.

Jennifer Chua: Could you tell me the story of coming up with the idea for My Kindness Calendar?

Maran Stern-Kubista: It was when I had just had a newborn. He was an October baby. Those first few months are chaotic, beautiful chaos at best when you have a newborn and my daughter was three at the time. There was a lot of conversations about gifts and getting, people come, they bring something for the baby. Christmas comes, you’re getting gifts, and I realized that, by three years old, you can totally understand that concept of getting like it is, they’ve mastered that quite early on. Giving to others and creating special opportunities for others and volunteering, that’s always been so important to me. I really just wanted to make sure that as that knowledge about getting was growing, I wanted to balance it out with this notion of giving as well.  I love the holidays, so there’s always traditions and things that we do around food and music and, books and everything. But for me, it’s always been important to have traditions of giving as well, but it was hard to find something that was really age appropriate for my daughter. Making it age accessible for someone who’s three was important to me. And so we came up with this idea of doing an advent calendar, but instead of a chocolate or a toy where it not, I didn’t want to do the getting every day. Like I was just I was getting a little tired of that conversation of someone knocking at the door and saying, hi, how are you? What did you bring me?  So I said, let’s balance it out. Let’s do something for somebody every day. And it was also really helpful with a new sibling because teaching her that idea of being kind to others and being kind in particular to this one, very new person, which is a huge transition.

We did an act of kindness for somebody every day in December, it was like construction paper on the wall. We’d done it together, a lot of togetherness and connection through spending time, doing these things together. And it was just beautiful to see the experience for my daughter. Cause it really opened the door to a lot of the things I wanted to talk about, but in a creative way, which is often the best way to get through to kids when you’re not directly teaching, you’re just, living an experience together. When friends came or family came they’d ask about it, and she’d have this opportunity to talk about it. And seeing the self-confidence and the pride that she had, and really like kids love to show off.    There was like this visual marker and map of all of the great things she was doing that she could just share with the world. So it was such a positive experience for us and people loved it. Like we loved it. And then friends, family loved it. Everyone starts saying, Oh, I should do that. I want to do that.

Most  parents don’t have time to sit down and cut out 25 little circles and a Christmas tree. There’s a lot of barriers for parents to do the things that they want to do time being the first of them. It was exciting for me to be able to create something that was hassle-free, that was like turnkey. And a tool for families to have the similar experience in their home and focus on kindness and get those benefits of all that social, emotional learning that we experienced by creating a product.

Jennifer Chua: When did you realize that this could work? Like when did you realize that people were interested and wanting to be a part of this?

Maran Stern-Kubista:  When I had the idea and I knew there wasn’t anything else out there, I knew before I’d even created it.  I thought this is a great idea. I really believe in this idea and how is this not a product, which I think in the world of product creation is unique. I think it’s hard to find something that hasn’t been done. To find something that’s truly unique and hasn’t been done yet I was. Blown away and super excited and knew that if I could make this in a quality way, like who would not want this? People who believe in this kind of thing and want to have these conversations and why not use this?  It’s awesome. So I think that uniqueness and the  market opportunity, I just knew pretty early on that it could work. And as an entrepreneur, that was also like a lot of pressure because then you have to figure out how to do it. That’s the hard part. But I knew that I had something that I had something unique that really deserved a chance out there.

Jennifer Chua:  Can you give me some examples of your acts of kindness?

Maran Stern-Kubista:  There’s so many that are my favorites.  There’s the classic Advent Calendar that we have that comes with its own set of 25 acts of kindness. And we just released another product, which is called the “Be Kind All the Time” Kindness Calendar, which really is designed to be used like in any way a week at a time, a month at a time, anytime you want holidays or celebrations or leading up to a birthday, something people look forward to. In a really flexible way. So that comes with a whole new set of acts of kindness, which we’re pretty excited about.

The number one that people love to do is make cookies for neighbors. Like every December 1st, when advent calendar comes out, the number of reposts on Instagram with people making cookies for neighbors is just huge. Who doesn’t like a cookie, right?  people love that.

There’s one that is put a surprise under somebody’s pillow. I like that. one, a little bit quirky that really inspire, lots of creativity from kids to just see where they go with it and where they take it which is really self confidence building again, just saying here’s your blank slate. Go and seeing what they do. It’s really nice to see that one.  I really tried to create like a cross section of creative things that they’re easy and fun and engaging to do.

But for me, I really liked the ones that are a little bit not quite as obvious they’re things that you wouldn’t necessarily think of or you think, Oh, how is that necessarily an act of kindness? I can understand how it’s a learning opportunity, but how’s that an act of kindness? Learn to say hello, or how are you in another language? Something like that is, is that really an act of kindness? While it’s something that helps kids understand about other languages and parts of the world and how would somebody feel if you met them, but you couldn’t communicate with them when they feel so included. If you were able to say just something really basic right. In their language.

Jennifer Chua: I really love this act of kindness. And I think it’s probably one of my favorites in the calendar. Maran was inspired to add this act of kindness after going on a trip with her family. They’d connected with another family who was also traveling. Who spoke a language that Maran didn’t recognize at first. They had a little girl the same age as Maran’s  daughter. The two were laughing and playing and communicating non-verbally as small children do. But within a couple of days, the two had figured out how to say basic things like hi, and how are you in each other’s languages. And Maran recalled that both of their eyes had just lit up and it was such a special moment.

Acts of kindness. Like these they’re really just conversation starters, but they’re about so much more than language. They’re about inclusion and empathy. And this is a favorite of hers too. I loved hearing the story. And you could tell that Maran and loved to tell it. But then I had to question how important is it to actively teach kindness at such a young age?

Maran Stern-Kubista:  In building my products,  I work with educators and I work with child psychologists and, people who are really educated in this kind of stuff on different academic levels.  From what I’ve learned in my research and in developing this and being a mom is that all of these things. It’s like they’re not things that you can read and then ingest and you’ve read it, you understand it, you conceptualize it. It’s done. It’s a muscle that has to be worked at every day and like exercise. You have to do it continuously and regularly for things to become second nature. We get set in patterns quite quickly and quite easily. So the younger, we help our kids exercise healthy patterns and exercise, healthy ways of thinking and flexible ways of thinking. It’ll just become more second nature. And then as they grow up and inevitably face the challenges, then they’re equipped to do it. You think has a parent, your job is to protect your kids from all of the challenging things that are going to happen in life. And that’s your instinct. You just want to protect them. You just want nothing bad to ever happen to them, but truly. The other way to see it is your job as a parent is to prepare them for all of the challenging things in life, because all we have is control over ourselves, not over the outside circumstances.

Jennifer Chua:  When you began to do your research and look at maybe similar products or just children’s products in general products, marketed to children, did you find anything surprising?

Maran Stern-Kubista:  The product world is so interesting. Like it’s been such a wonderful education and this is where the lawyering thing comes in. Like lawyers. I should be careful what I say, depending on who’s listening, but like the real benefit of being a lawyer and what you learn in law school, it’s a way of thinking and problem solving. You really don’t know the answers. You just know how to find them. It’s the same when you start to look at product development and you have an idea, you want to bring it to life, you start to really examine and you don’t know what to do, but you know how to look for the problems and create a solution around it.

This is a timely, hot topic for very good reasons, but kids’ mental health and this type of kindness culture. There’s a lot of things that sort of point to it for good reason, but I find on the market there’s things that do that kind of through an adult lens. And then there’s things that do that through a child focused lens. And what I mean by that is. The aesthetics for an adult. You can have things that like every parent wants in their home and is going to like, be very excited to use with their kids, but it’s really designed to catch the adult’s eye and to work towards the adults’ instagram feed and to look really good in that light versus something that is very child-focused, which would have a very different aesthetic and approach. So I tried to really be something adults can be proud to display in their homes and, to display publicly and share, but something that really is created to engage and empower and encourage kids and to invite kids to want to participate with it very actively.

Jennifer Chua: Was there a moment where you looked around and thought maybe we’re failing as a society to teach our little ones, empathy? Like, Were you motivated by anything like that?

Maran Stern-Kubista:  The challenges on little kids are humongous. The pressures on kids are humongous. Like regardless of COVID. Now everything’s just magnified, but I’ve been surprised at how early they have experiences that really required them to be strong in so many different ways. Like just what happens on the school yard and how to navigate social connections and feeling left out and understanding kids who act a little bit differently, like just so much.  I think I’ve been surprised as a parent how much there is to focus on and how we really have to role model and we have to be deliberate about some of these social, emotional skills that are going to help them through difficult times.

Jennifer Chua:  So you talked about the two calendars, but what else do you sell?

Maran Stern-Kubista: A accompanying product called my mindset, magnets that I created during COVID and released during COVID as a COVID coping tool for probably myself. Maybe primarily, and my kids, secondarily, I don’t know. It’s hard to see exactly where the balance is, but this is something, again, as I said, I speak with professionals as I develop my products, but they just come from the experience of being a parent and what do I need and what do my kids need as tools to, help achieve the things I’m trying to achieve as parents. So what my mindset magnets is it’s a set of magnets, with 200 very carefully chosen words that are all designed to help kids come up with and create their own positive affirmation statements or positive intention statements and not only positive, but basically just statements to help choose our mindsets and work through issues and problems.

So I like to focus a lot on growth mindset as well, overcoming challenges and working our way through mistakes and getting to the other side in a positive way. And this was really important for me in COVID because there is a lot of reasons and a lot of things to focus on that were negative and that were okay. Unforeseen or that we didn’t quite understand. And so being intentional with sitting with those feelings, working through those feelings, being okay with those feelings and then making choices to see things in a more positive perspective was really helpful for me as a parent to empower myself and give myself renewed strength. So I could then. Pass that on to my family and has been super helpful for my kids too . You’re like literally training your brain to Shift things to a positive perspective, or to be able to move to a positive perspective when you’re doing this on a regular basis. So it’s been a hugely helpful tool for us and it’s so validating and exciting to see how other families have been using the magnets with their kids, especially at this challenging time. One mom who her son transitioned back to in-person learning, which you know, is a transition that’s tricky. He would make his sentences every morning, he would put them in a magnetic lunchbox and he would tuck them in his bag. And when he was feeling, a little anxious at school, he could open it up and see, you know what he’d told himself in the morning. I am brave. I can do this. I can do hard things. And again, it wasn’t from reading a card that his mom told him to read. It was him expressing in his own words, what he was feeling. He had chosen those words, he had chosen that particular adjective to be how he was feeling. So it’s just so self-motivated. And so child driven, so much more powerful to be able to, rely on your own feelings and hear your own words repeated back to you. It’s really helped him. So that’s awesome.

Jennifer Chua:So in this journey, going from idea from concept to meeting with experts and designing and creating this product, have you encountered any really big challenges?

Maran Stern-Kubista:  I think the biggest challenge is,  just moving from idea to execution and figuring out how to make it happen in the best way. Cause there’s so many different doors to open. There are so many decisions to make along the way. That is a challenge and you’re always, everything has an opportunity cost, everything in life. So it’s been a challenge to always know which way to go. I make my products in North America in the States, what that means. That obviously has ramifications and it’s wonderful. I love my production partner. My product could look very different, price wise if I had made different choices, I don’t think there’s a right or wrong. That’s made sense for us at this point. And that, it’s to always know which road to take and which way to go. Cause there’s no playbook.

Jennifer Chua:  So looking back at this you sound very confident, but was there ever a moment that you did not feel as confident or you felt like the odds were really stacked against you?

Maran Stern-Kubista:  I do, I do appear confident because I think it’s a great product and I love my business and I believe in it every day, and that doesn’t necessarily make a successful business. It’d be the realities of owning a small business and what that means and what it should look like and how quickly it should grow and how you should be sold there. I think there’s a lot of businesses out there who are working their buns off and who look very successful outwardly but the realities of business ownership and what that means on your bottom line and what that means, when you do your taxes at the end of the year is completely different. It is a tough slog. It’s. Really hard. And especially for product based businesses, as I’ve learned if you want to go and make money, don’t do a product based business because what I have learned, because the challenges with inventory and your manufacturing costs and your import fees and your everything like there. And when you’re not working in big numbers, when you are more niche and you are more local, like me, your numbers. And you have to make different choices and it’s very expensive. It’s very expensive to get something that is available on the shelf and the costs of things that are on the shelf and the costs to make it like I’ve been so surprised to really learn a little bit more about this and being thoughtful about the things that you buy and you think my goodness, how. How is this priced this way, like what it’s actually taking to, to manufacture and create this. It really blows your mind sometimes.

This is a unique time in my life where I’ve been able to create this and I’m creating it. for those entrepreneurs who are saying, should I quit my job? Income generating job to run my business and then having that pressure of making up for, the opportunity cost of doing what you could do with a reliable paycheck. I can’t emphasize how hard it is to make a successful product based business that you can make your livelihood from. It’s really challenging.

Jennifer Chua:  If someone was. Going to try to use like children’s products or the toy category to make an impact. What is a common reason you think they might give up or walk away from this?

Maran Stern-Kubista:  I think the biggest reason why somebody might give up in that category or any category really is just, the realization of what it means to make it happen successfully. The understanding of the challenges that lie ahead  from creating to prototype, to finding something that you like from the other challenges that are going to arise, if you’re importing from overseas and just the logistics of literally making it happen and then making it profitable and successful those are big questions it can be overwhelming. And, in the kids category, like it is a competitive space, for sure. There’s a lot of stuff out there. So for something to be unique or have a little bit of ingenuity, that there is an opportunity where it’s not there yet. I mean that for me, like that was the motivator. It was really that finding that little. Keyhole of, okay. I can see the light, like this needs to be out there cause it’s not yet.

Jennifer Chua:  I don’t think that people understand how tough it is to be an entrepreneur. And I think that a lot of the time, the costs associated with taking that path on our mental health and our family life, they can be really significant. What is something that has been just completely rewarding for you? When you look back at this entire experience? What moment are you like? Oh, that was so rewarding.

Maran Stern-Kubista:  Seeing the product in other people’s homes is the most rewarding thing. Seeing people use it and knowing that they want to pay money for it, and then they want to use it on a regular basis where they could be choosing to spend their money elsewhere. That is super rewarding and more rewarding then, the other more traditional kind of validations that you can get. That’s rewarding as a business person, but it’s also rewarding as a parent to be able to share with my kids. Hey, I made that and look how this person like in a distant country also has that on their wall.  It’s neat for them to know. And they don’t know the other MES, like they don’t know the mom, lawyer. They don’t know the mom who used to travel to Africa. Like they don’t know mom who used to sing in front of thousands, upon thousands of people. This is what they know and that’s okay with me.  I think is a unique education that they’re able to witness. So that’s cool.

Jennifer Chua: What was the first thing that happened that you’re really proud of? And why did you feel that way?

Maran Stern-Kubista:  There’s been a lot. And thank you for asking this question because as an entrepreneur, there’s a lot that you think about. That’s not that. It’s challenging. And so to stop and take stock and find those proud moments is super exciting and important. When I actually got the product like in hands, like the first physical manifestation of this product that was a really proud moment because it going from an idea and one-and-done disposable thing to something  that could find itself in my home or other people’s homes. And I love the quality of it. Like it’s really what I wanted it to be. So holding the product in my hands for the first time was definitely exciting. Seeing it in people’s homes is always, I have to say it might sound cheesy, but it is the best part. There’s a lot of awesome, amazing stuff that I’m super grateful for, but it doesn’t really compare to when I just see people posting it and telling me how this has become their favorite thing they do every year at the holidays. And every year, it’s four years now that I’ve done it. So every year there’s more people who are using it for their fourth year or their third year or their second year. And when I get those DMS from people just saying an amazing moment they had, or how it’s so important for them at the holidays. It’s the best part because it’s, that’s what it was for us. And that’s what I knew it could be for other people. And it’s just it’s really exciting. And it’s really the reason, that we do this to provide value and to see people enjoying and valuing it, is super is really the reason to do it. For sure.

Jennifer Chua: So when you think about our children and you think about the, the adults of the future, are you hopeful?

Maran Stern-Kubista:  I’m for sure. Hopeful. You have to be hopeful, right? That’s the whole mindset magnet thing, right? Like you have to set a positive intention and  I am always aware of the potential of kids. I’m never surprised to see kids doing amazing things because I think that’s the default. Like I think the default is you’re awesome. And you’re amazing. Now, like we, as society and  in our culture, like we just need to enable that. We need to create opportunity for kids to be amazing because they’re so creative and like they’re so intrinsically, there’s so much good there, that it just needs to be fostered and released, and everyone is going to develop into the people they’re meant to be. But when we can do our part of, giving them opportunity and encouraging them when they do positive things and helping them understand when things are challenging. And when different choices could be made in challenging moments, like that’s just. Enabling them to, live through their potential. So I’m for sure hopeful and talk about resilience, what kids are going through right now. There’s no doubt that it’s having a humongous cost on everybody’s mental health, like parents and kids.  This is the story of life, right? People go through things that they should never have to go through that are super challenging. And that can be really deflating and it can be very upsetting and it can also be, a chance. I choose to see difficult moments as an opportunity to really build resilience. And it doesn’t mean that it’s easy. It doesn’t mean that it’s fair or it’s right. But it is. It is a fact that this stuff is happening and there are positives and there are strengths that’ll come through it of knowing that you can get through hard moments. So we are probably building a very resilient generation of children through this past year.

Jennifer Chua: Are there any other ways that you use your business to affect social change?

Maran Stern-Kubista: you know, When you have a business called My Kindness Calendar and you’re encouraging everybody to do kind things all the time, it’s part of my mission to put your money where your mouth is. And it’s a core value of mine to do these kinds of things. So when I started the business. It was one of the first decisions I made 5% of our profits go to charity every year. That’s just a no-brainer. And I think, again, that’s something that’s important to me personally, but if I’m going to make a business, then it’s important to me professionally as well. I’ve always tried every year to get some product in the hands of people who wouldn’t otherwise access it, but who would find it very valuable and helpful in their homes. So I’ve had lots of great opportunities through different organizations to distribute some product to families who would enjoy it, which has been really meaningful.

And. In COVID again, like this past year has been really challenging financially and sales wise, it’s looked very different on the balance sheet than other years, and that’s the reality for tons of businesses. But I saw that I could be valuable. In a way that wasn’t merely product based. And so when COVID hit, I started, doing free printables and sharing different resources that I hadn’t really built into my business before.   I was happy to notice that opportunity and to rise to the challenge and to be able to offer something else. And  there’s one in particular, we made this like it’s called Mail-A-Hug. You can go onto the website, you can download it. It’s just like a free little printable that I made. Kids can color it. And you fold it up when you unfold. It looks like a little person who’s opening their arms and giving a hug and mail that to your grandparents or whomever. And this has been downloaded thousands upon thousands of times, which I was I wasn’t prepared for that Like, I’ve never had anything. It certainly hasn’t gone viral, but like in my world. And that was really exciting because it just showed me how something super simple, again, like a free printable that an outline that kids can color, like any. Any kid could create that on their own, but like parents don’t have time, especially in COVID to come up with the idea, let alone, create something on their own and leave it for their kids to do it’s too much.  So to know that so many people are like, Oh my gosh, look at this cute idea. It’s going to spread joy. Like someone’s going to love getting us in the mail and it’s been excitedly received that’s been nice to do in COVID to know that, making little tiny moments that are providing joy in an otherwise challenging time.

Jennifer Chua:  What’s next for My Kindness Calendar. What’s the next thing you’re going to do?

Maran Stern-Kubista: This is an exciting season because I just released this new year round Be Kind All The Time Kindness Calendars  it just opens the door to using my products year round in a way that before it’s been so Christmas based and, in the spirit of Inclusion, which is one of my core principles, core values. I want anybody who wants to experience this to be able to use it. And I have had people throughout the year saying can I use it at Ramadan? Can I use it a Hanukkah? And we do Hanukkah and Christmas at my house. I’m like, you can, but clearly it is like a Christian tradition, the advent calendar. So it doesn’t always resonate or feel comfortable in the same way. Understandably. So I love that I have an option for everybody now to use it in any way that you would want at any time. That’s coming next. It’s exciting to think about what time and opportunity could create.

Jennifer Chua:  If you want to learn more about Maran and her kindness and mindfulness activities, visit mykindnesscalendar.com. Follow the link in the nav for freebies and get your own Mail-A-Hug printable, and delight someone from afar. You can follow along with Maran on her mission to spread kindness on Facebook or Instagram @mykindnesscalendar.


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