Kindness, compassion, & generosity are skills we all possess but, just like ALL other skills, they must be developed if they are to reach their full potential...and it's never too late (or too soon) to help our children begin developing those skills!

To ALL the people who've shown me an immense amount of kindness, compassion, & generosity throughout my ENTIRE life, I am  truly grateful. And, while there's no combination of words that could adequately express my gratitude for the time & energy each of the following people invested in me throughout the process of preparing for TEDx, I'd like to give special thanks to:  

My amazing husband, Andy Nowak - Thank you SO much for being SO patient with me; for putting up with me through many sleepless nights: for listening to me practice over, and over, and over again; and for providing me with honest feedback...even when you were worried I might not receive it the way you'd intended:)

My two beautiful babies - Thank you for ALL the love you have in your teeny, tiny little hearts; for sharing that love with me on a daily basis; and for inspiring me to be a better mom.

My wonderful sister, Amy Bootes - Thank you for meeting with me EVERY week to review my progress and offer a wealth of suggestions & encouragement.

My unbelievably supportive in-laws, Lee & Barry Nowak - Thank you for standing behind me these past 2 years & for being available - at a moment's notice - when I needed to practice...over the phone of course:). 

My loving dad - Mike Bootes, my husband - Andy, and my friends Deanna Wellens and Tara & Lucas Cole ...as well as my former student, Hannah & her mom, Jo Ann -  Thank you so much for attending the event; even though making eye contact with you while on stage would have made me cry, knowing you were there greatly increased my confidence & alleviated my fears (or at least some of them:). 

The ENTIRE student-led team at Xavier University, including Sam Seigle, Tom Erickson, Mary Malanos, Sean Kallmeyer (among MANY, MANY others!) - Thank you for spending countless hours organizing the event and making sure everything went as planned! Thanks, also, to the kind volunteer who made a last minute trip to the campus store for me!

Our awesome M.C for the evening, Matthew Dooley - Thanks for providing MUCH more encouragement than you know...and for, unsuccessfully, warning me against using "uptalk" (I tried buddy:).

Jenny Baker, Alissa Pummell, Erica Close & ALL the moms who attend Crossroad's morning AND evening MOMS Group - Thank you for allowing me to share my story with you all and begin the process of whittling it all down; can you believe I got the time down to 17:22?!?!

Monica Smith who coordinated my first in-home practice hosted by Reg & Liz Crutcher, and their entire Huddle Group - Thank you for so many wonderfully insightful perspectives and the amazing feedback you provided; it was instrumental in helping me shape the sequence of my talk and reminded me of the importance of including more of my personal story.

Holly Hemak who also hosted an in-home practice so I could get additional feedback from her mom, sister, and friends, Nancy & Martha - Thank you for rolling with the punches; the format was unusual, I know, but it was extremely helpful for me to do go through it in that way...and Holly's suggestion to add the grocery store story back in was very MUCH appreciated (so were the cookies:).

My dear friends, Bridget & Phil Go, Laura & Ryan Bryzgot, Deanna & Scott Wellens, Anne Otis, and Sarah Beard - Thanks for coming over on such short notice; for providing with some more "teacherly" perspectives; and for helping me with all of the finishing touches (like changing "fireman" to "firefighter," adding "superhero," etc.:). 

Chuck Mingo & Kathy Beechem - Thank you for taking time out of your busy day and giving me a chance to practice on a real, BIG stage; you provided MUCH needed instruction on gestures, movement, & posture but, in the end, I realized that all of that is WAY, WAY harder than it looks! You make it look too easy:(

Two of my best friends, Jen Wolford & Lara Peacock - Thanks for the giving me one last chance to practice before going on stage; sorry it was so rushed...and sorry I made you cry:)

And last, but really first, God - Thank you for giving me such a beautiful life full of amazingly unique experiences and for loving me enough to put SO many wonderful people in my path; it is with great love, hope, faith, and humility that I honor and appreciate all of the gifts You've given me. 

Beth Nowak is a former Kindergarten teacher and mother of two who wanted to make memories with her children while making a difference in her community. Helping other parents do the same, she left the classroom to create Giving Families' Good Mail Challenges... fun and easy, family-friendly giveback activities that can be completed anytime, anywhere using materials readily available in most homes. To learn more and join the family, visit GivingFamilies.com.