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Lauren Paul and Molly Thompson of the Kind Campaign on bullying and mom shaming

In this episode, Liz talks to Lauren Paul and Molly Thompson, founders of the Kind campaign, an internationally recognized nonprofit that brings awareness and healing to the negative effects of girl-against-girl bullying. They talk about their mission, what they've learned from a decade of speaking to young kids on the topic, and the separate but related problem of mom-shaming.

This episode is sponsored by Highlights. For more information on all their great products please visit https://www.highlights.com/store/discover-highlights

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Transcript:

Liz Tenety: [00:00:00] Before our episode with Lauren Paul and Molly Thompson begins. I want to thank our sponsor, Highlights. Through Lauren and Molly's international nonprofit, The Kind Campaign, they teach kids the importance of kindness and empathy, bringing awareness and healing to the negative effects of girl against girl bullying.

And like them, Highlights also fosters these traits in kids and encourages children to see the world from another person's perspective. Their range of content is designed to teach kids soft skills that extend beyond childhood raising kids who are open-minded, curious, and caring. Just as one example, their Gallant Kids section in highlights magazine -- and on Facebook and Instagram -- features real life heroes, kids who do incredible things in their communities and make the world a better place.

So, help your kids see the good in themselves, the good in others and the good in the world. Discover what your kid can do. Try something new with highlights, learn more at discoverhighlights.com.

Liz Tenety: [00:01:02] In sixth grade kind of out of the blue or so it felt I started getting bullied. There was one girl in particular who kind of rallied this group of girls to not be my friend to isolate me.

And they totally froze me out. And told the other girls to do it too. I even think she, this one girl in particular threatened the other girls to not be my friend. And it was devastating. I remember I didn't have anyone to sit with at lunch. I truly felt alone. And I do remember a few times, just absolutely wailing in my bedroom to my parents about what people were saying to me and calling me and how they were treating me.

But I also remember despite how cruel that was, knowing and hearing from my parents, that the way that I was being treated was much more of a [00:02:00] reflection of what those girls were going through, whether stuff that they were dealing with at home or their own insecurities. Or their own pain. And my mom in particular, I remember told me you just don't bully people.

If you feel good about yourself, putting people down and judging other people harshly, it's almost always a reflection of what's going on with that person. And even though it can be cruel, it's almost always its own cry for help.

Liz Tenety: Hey mama. Welcome to the motherly podcast, honest conversations about modern motherhood. I'm Liz Tenety, the co-founder of Motherly, and I'm a mom of four myself. I'm so excited today to be talking with Lauren Paul and Molly Thompson. They're the founders of the kind campaign, an internationally recognized nonprofit that brings awareness and healing to the negative effects of girl against [00:03:00] girl bullying.

Lauren and Molly talked to me about why they came together to focus on this mission and what they've learned from a decade. Speaking to young kids about bullying and they also shared their thoughts on this separate, but related problem of mom shaming and how they're teaching their own kids to be kind. Molly and Lauren, welcome to the motherly podcast.

Lauren Paul: Hello!

Molly Thompson: We are so happy to be here!

Liz Tenety: Okay. So, the theme of our podcast this season is "Motherhood Your Way." So, what do you think makes each of your approaches to motherhood unique? Molly, why don't we start with you?

Molly Thompson: Ooh. Okay. I love this. And I love that theme motherhood your way, because I feel like that's the way it should be.

We should be each doing it, you know, in a way that feels best for us. And I think for me, especially right now, during this time, it means taking, just taking motherhood one day [00:04:00] at a time and trying to give myself grace and being okay with just the chaos in some ways. And again, I think that's why I'm really focusing on just taking it one day at a time.

Liz Tenety: Lauren?

Lauren Paul: I feel like motherhood is a journey and I've taken a lot of cues and advice from Molly. She's one of my best friends and obviously through Kind campaign, we've spent so much time together and she had her daughter before I had my first. And so, I'll say ditto to that, as usual.

Kind of speaking to that specifically and this time that we're in, I think specific to right now, really checking in with myself is very crucial in terms of my journey with motherhood. Just making sure that I'm taking space for my mental, you know, wellness and almost making that a priority sometimes, which is hard to do as a mother. Because everything is just give, give, give, and [00:05:00] which is such a beautiful thing.

But we forget to do that. And I think right now, just with the world and the stresses of everything going on, it's so important to almost check in with yourself first sometimes because it's hard. You can't, you can't be a present parent without being present for yourself first. So, I've failed many times, but tried to be intentional about asking myself what I need in order to give my daughter the best care during all of this.

Liz Tenety: I think it's so interesting to hear both of you talk about giving grace and motherhood, and also listening to your inner voice because, you know, I want to share with our listeners about the Kind Campaign. And I think part of what kindness is in the world, it really is rooted in the way that we talk to ourselves about ourselves and how we feel inside makes us see others.

In a negative light sometimes, or just [00:06:00] project insecurities and things that we feel or places we don't feel seen on to other people. So, for those who don't know, can you talk a little bit about the kind campaign and where it started and the mission of this work?

Lauren Paul: Yeah, absolutely. So, Molly and I founded kind campaign in 2009. So, it's been quite a long journey over a decade.

Liz Tenety: That was when you were in, in college?

Lauren Paul: Yeah. Yeah, we really did start our junior year of college and we were both in film school together and had this idea to do a documentary film. We had both, you know, worked in that space and had developed a friendship and just felt like a documentary film about specifically bullying between girls and women could be a really good conversation to start because at that point, that conversation hadn't been started, you know, really when we started laying the groundwork for this, it was 11, almost 12 years ago.

And so, bullying in general, it was not a topic of discussion. There was nothing in schools, this discussion, and specifically female [00:07:00] bullying, has evolved so much in the last few years, which we're so proud and excited to be a part of and to see that. But as you know, this whole space of women taking a seat at the table and using their voices and sharing their stories and connecting and supporting each other, this is a very new, a new kind of space where all, and, you know, prior to, which is again, when we started this, it was kind of this rite of passage for women, you know, to be competitive and to be hard on each other. And, and, you know, you'd hear people say, Oh, I just have guy friends, girls are too difficult.

Like all these kinds of stereotypical things that was just kind of accepted. I feel like Mean Girls, the movie, was kind of the first like -- in a satirical way -- like look at what all of that is. So, we wanted to really sit down and take it seriously. And so, we started shooting interviews locally around the greater Los Angeles area.

And it was really through those initial interviews, just seeing girls and women pour their hearts out and share their stories. [00:08:00] It was really obvious that we were kind of popping the lid off of something and it was something people wanted to take seriously and to ask questions, why and what can we do?

And how can we really start to support one another? And through that, we have this idea of school programs and founding this nonprofit. We didn't know what that would look like and had no idea what turned into assemblies and thousands of schools across the world and curriculum and camps and clubs and all of this that we now do.

But yeah, it's been such an amazing journey that we just feel so. Lucky to be a part of, to have been on the forefront of really.

Liz Tenety: Why bullying? Like what did it actually mean to both of you at that time? Why was this something you felt so personally touched by?

Molly Thompson: Well, like Lauren said, we, you know, became friends junior year and she had an experience in middle school. And I had an experience in high school with other girls and bullying that at the time. You know, when we became friends that wasn't like what United us, we were friends. And then we were just like catching up over lunch. And then she shared with me this idea that she had to shoot a [00:09:00] documentary focusing on this issue because of her experience in middle school, not knowing that I had had an experience surrounding the exact same issue in high school that really impacted my life.

And so, it was in that moment that we really bonded over both having shared experiences. And I think that that has something yeah. Has now trickled into every conversation and assembly that we have because you know, it really is this universal experience that it seems like all females have gone through at some point in their lives.

And it was really because of our own personal experiences with this.

Liz Tenety: You talked about Mean Girls, the movie and sort of representing like one of the first moments of cultural critique of Mean Girl culture and, and talking about what bullying looks like in one of its forms and, you know, honoring your inner voice and practicing self- care and the way that the conversation around how we treat ourselves.

And one another has evolved. I'm wondering with [00:10:00] all the research and experience you've had, what do you see as the driving force of this, you know, pervasive sense of bullying and girls and women wanting to put another woman down or to be competitive instead of being collaborative? Where does that come from?

Lauren Paul: Hmm. I think if anything, we've learned in our 10 years of doing this and hearing so many stories from girls and women all over the world, that it's not so black and white, that there are so many different factors that play into a person's experience, personality insecurities, whether that's things they're learning at home, things that are taking place at school.

Again, just your own chemical makeup and how you respond to the world and relationships and conflict. And there's so much to it, but I will say that. Something that's changed that you can really measure and see like a [00:11:00] substantial change in it is just the story that women have been told about what those relationships look like.

You know, before, like we've been talking about this sort of beautiful evolution that's been taking place. A lot of those relationships between women that you'd see it's, it's catty it's, it's like, you know, you'd see women pitted against each other and films and. I feel like now that's just not cool to do or portray.

And you see that the effect of that mirrored. And I think it really has impacted women in our relationships just to be reminded like you don't have to accept this story. We're being told as your reality. I think that's a big part of this is just changing that narrative and being, you know, being a part of that change through the stories we're telling and through the relationships we're portraying for young girls on TV and you know, and movies and, and then I'd say, something different kind of that's made it a bit harder is social media and [00:12:00] everything. We've had a really interesting seat through the evolution of social media. When we started this Instagram didn't exist but seeing how that specific form of communication and connection has impacted girls, self-esteem, and relationships and women as well. It affects adults, of course, has added to the noise in such a crazy way that it almost counters a lot of the progress at the same time. So, I'd say those are two kind of like tangible, current things that are going on.

Liz Tenety: Absolutely. Simultaneously. You know, when I was learning more myself about the Kind Campaign, it was reminded of this feminist theory, this idea that to the extent sent that there has been measurable. Conflict between girls and women, um, that it was really driven historically by a lack of resources and opportunity for women, right.

That we did not have professional equality. We were not taken as [00:13:00] seriously intellectually. Um, we were valued much more for our appearance than for what we could offer the world in all these other regards. And I wonder. The extent to which you see bullying as a result of that competition for limited resources, the degree to which do you guys see that as a feminist issue?

Molly Thompson: Yeah. To your point. I think that definitely, you know, plays into the way that women treat each other the way that, you know, even girls treat each other and in school. And I think where that feels like it's rooted. Is in insecurities that, you know, we all share that like Lauren was mentioning earlier, you know, are some, are just innately within us.

And then some are, you know, we're adopted because of the way that we, or portrayed in the media or in the world. And so, I think that those insecurities then fuel the competition that we have, because [00:14:00] like you're saying mentioning, you know, the idea of these limited resources or, you know, only one seat at the table for a woman and you lose that sense of, you know, mentorship, uh, specifically, you know, within the place with women.

I remember we sat down with someone for the documentary and that was her experience. She worked at a fortune 500 company, and she watched, as, you know, these men in executive positions would mentor a younger man and kind of bring them up in the ranks. And she witnessed it. The exact opposite happened with females in the company because, because they felt like they can't mentor, you know, that younger person, because there's no room for them likely. It is those insecurities playing out in those ways of, well, I've got to look out for me because I want to get so this level, or I want to, you know, accomplish this or I want to achieve my goal. And for a long time, the storyline was fed to [00:15:00] us.

We're changing the way that we view that side of things, you know, mentoring younger women, I mean them up so that the culture just looks different. Like we just need to change the scenery.

Liz Tenety: This issue, you know, it starts when we're young, it starts in school. It starts with mean girl culture. It looks like, like competition in the workplace between women.

And I know the sort of mom guilt and mom shaming that I've experienced has also been a new sort of representation of this issue of bullying. So, I'm curious have either of you experienced like that mom shaming and how have you reframed that experience, knowing all that you do about what bullying is and all that you've learned about the source of it and what can be done?

Lauren Paul: Oh yeah. That whole world that I feel like is so prevalent online on Instagram and on blogs is so insane to me. It's like, this is the hardest, most important job. [00:16:00] No one is perfect at it. Obviously, we're all learning. And this idea that women very often just like so easily put other mothers down and then like point out the things that they're doing wrong.

I mean, you can't help, but assume it's in an attempt to remind themselves of what they're doing. Right. You know, to make themselves feel better, but it's just so counterproductive and really hurtful. And, and yeah, I remember actually for me, early on with Story, my daughter, I had posted this picture of her in a car seat, like this little picture of her on Easter.

She's like the couple months old. And like, it's like this cute little picture and I actually don't post her anymore because I just don't even want her like, in that space. Because it just, people are just scary. But this was early on and I had in this car seat that we were actually borrowing. It wasn't even ours.

Because we were out of town. Those like little cushiony things on the straps and all… [00:17:00] I didn't even know what that was or that it was an issue or anything. And immediately like, there were these incredible cruel comments. Some mothers that were, you know, sharing constructive comments, being kind and being like, hey, just so you know, like there's been research that shows like those aren't so safe, which I -- I'm totally willing to hear those things.

Like we should all be helping each other and sharing advice. Because this is a hard job, but the amount of women who were so mean in their response to that… and just like saying things that you just can't even imagine, like, what do you want to try and like, kill your kid, like crazy things that you're like, how is that acceptable?

And how is that your response to someone who's like, clearly like trying to do the right thing and just didn't know something, you know, and my response to that is I love responding to people and like trying to humanize the situation and being like: "Hey, like that really hurt my feelings. Like I would have appreciated X, Y, and Z and starting a conversation."

And when I do that, most of the time people are like, Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry. You know, they apologize and say what they should have said in the [00:18:00] first place, but it's just that, like that instinct to just be so judgmental and mean it's just so unfortunate and it happens all the time. You know, again, speaking to this like evolution and like all the beauty and change that's happened in this space with women. That is very much alive and well, and it's something that I really, really hate. It really makes me sad.

Liz Tenety: I find it interesting that you actually make this distinction between constructive feedback kindly given that you're able to receive. And the other thing, the bullying, the shaming, the you're a jerk because you should be a better mom.

Yeah. Again, coming from the perspective of an expert on bullying, how can we have less of the shaming and more of like a softness in the way that we talk to each other, especially as moms.

Molly Thompson: It's something actually that we say in our assemblies to middle school girls, but I think it's [00:19:00] applicable for everyone.

But specifically, here in this situation, talking about, you know, the way that moms treat other moms is to, you know, put yourself in their shoes and. You know, you, you have no idea what they're going through, what time they woke up all throughout the night, what time they woke up this morning, what they have on their plate today.

You just have no idea, you know, all of the things that they're juggling and the emotional, like stress that they're under and if we all think before quickly typing something out or, you know, firing off our little fingers and like making this, you know, knee jerk reaction of like trying to, to bring them down, it's like stop and pause and put yourself in their shoes and think about all of the things that they might be going through right now.

And if you have something that you would like to share with them that you think could be constructive and helpful, say it in a way that like [00:20:00] you would want to receive that feedback. And I think if, if that happened, I mean that wouldn't obviously solve everything. Like we also need to look further and deeper to see, like, why is your knee jerk reaction to like, bring that person down?

I think that, you know, should be part of this conversation as well, but the baseline is thinking about the way that you would want to receive some sort of feedback or constructive criticism and sharing constructive criticism and feedback in that way. And then next step is asking yourself, why would you have shared it in a way to attack that person or to try and make them feel bad about what they're doing?

Lauren Paul: Could I piggyback off of one thing. Molly just said really quick speaking to the why. I mean, there's such a clear distinguishing voice in those two types of responses. Like the one that's constructive, even if it's not quite like kind, but like trying. And then there are just so many people who are just it's really mean.

And if, if that's the place you [00:21:00] go, I would encourage the person to really look at themselves. And again, like Molly said, ask the why and find out where that hurt is within you, because that's where that's coming from. And I don't say that in a patronizing way or in a way that's judgmental. Cause we all have hurt and things that we're going through and we react to things accordingly, but to work on that space within yourself, because if, if you are able to treat people, complete strangers, that way, as a result of those hurts, you likely are hurting other people in your life. People that will really be affected by this, your kids, your partner, your friends.

So, to ask that question, to be honest with yourself and to find help, like we all need help. And so, you know, whether that's childhood trauma, whether that's things you learned growing up, insecurities, you know, whatever, whatever that is and talk to someone about it, because it feels so much [00:22:00] better to be nice to be kind. No one wants to carry that.

Liz Tenety: No parent wants to raise a bully. Of course, we all want to raise kind kids. Um, in fact, motherly does an annual survey of mothers and by far the number one value that they hope to nurture in their children is kindness. So, what do you think nurturing kindness looks like on a daily basis as a mother?

Lauren Paul: Well, I love the word kindness, because it's so much different than nice. Like kindness is an action step. It's not only the words that you say and the things that you feel, but to me, the word kindness is -- it's an action. Like you are, you're taking time out of your day. You're actively choosing to be kind.

And, you know, I think there's so many ways that we can [00:23:00] model our own behavior for our kids to ensure that they integrate those choices into their own lives. First and foremost, the way you treat your own friends as a mother, the way you talk to the people in your life, the way you address conflict. I think a lot of times as women, we're scared of conflict.

And to, to know that it's important, to stand up for yourself, and to address things, but to do it respectfully and, and in a productive way, rather than gossiping and talking behind each other's backs. Like just talk to a person, if you have conflict, I think that's something we really need to teach our kids.

That to me is an act of kindness because you're choosing to have enough respect for another person to just share what's going on rather than turn it into a whole web of drama. But yeah, so, you know, choosing to model your own behavior in a way that you want to see [00:24:00] your kids do, you know, as they grow older and then, you know, having conversations about kindness and what that looks like, like, can you do something kind for a stranger today?

Can you include that kid that sits alone at lunch, you know, every day and ask them if they want to sit with you and your friends at the lunch table, you know, just having those conversations and really talking about what different random acts of kindness and how that can affect people in your kids' lives and how they can partake in that.

Liz Tenety: Molly, anything you've practiced to add on to that?

Molly Thompson: Actually, when she was talking, something that I was thinking about is my daughter Leila started preschool this last year, and we were talking about school. It's like at the beginning of the school year and every day as I'm driving her to school, she repeats these like, you know, I am kind, I am smart. I'm courageous, I'm creative. I'm you know, I am powerful. So, as we were about to start any week of school, I was like, okay, so tell me, what are you? So, she was like telling me, and then she added in and I look out for a [00:25:00] friend who needs a friend. And I was like, it stopped me in my tracks.

And I'm actually getting emotional right now. Because it was like such a proud moment just to see this little three-year-old come up with something that she was kind of challenging herself to do, you know, at preschool, of like looking out for a friend who needs a friend and so simple, but, you know, those are the things that I was hoping to instill.

And it was just like a proud moment of like, okay, you're, you're picking up on these conversations that we're having. And it's all of the little things that we do in our everyday lives and the little conversations that we have and the actions that we take.

Lauren Paul: Something we've done with Story, since she was a tiny baby, is we've kind of given everything around us, a personality, like every object, every natural thing.

So, this idea of obviously like be kind to people and humans, but literally since she was an infant, like [00:26:00] we show her like a tree or an aunt and be like, "Hi Tree. Hi Ant. Hi Dirt. Hi, coffee table." Like everything is alive and it's so exciting. She's now two and a half and she's fully taken that little thing we've done.

And she just says "hi" to everything. And I just like to think that it's just a tiny little thing that we've done with her, that in her little brain and world, that's developing so much right now that she just feels a deeper connection to everything around her.

Liz Tenety: So, with the Kind Campaign you do, these school workshops, and we alluded to it a little bit before, but I'd love it if you could walk our listeners through the ways that you. Teach girls and boys to examine how they talk to one another, how they even talk to themselves, how to apologize, because I just have a feeling that I can learn a lot from that toolkit. Do you mind walking us [00:27:00] through like one or two of those examples that you use with girls?

Molly Thompson: The way that we start out, every assembly is by having the girls raise their hands. If they've ever been affected by something that another female has said or done to them. And it's pretty amazing. Every single hand in the room goes up and you kind of see the girls looking around like, "Oh, you've been impacted by this. Oh, you, Oh, you have to, like, I thought, you know, you've never dealt with this."

And then we follow that question up with, to keep their hands raised or raise their hand if they have ever said or done something that has negatively impacted another girl. And it's pretty incredible to see that every hand in the room stays up and we ask that follow up question.

Not only to show, of course, like I mentioned, that we've all been affected by the things that have been said and done to us, but also to recognize the role that we all play within this, and the fact that the Kind Campaign isn't about pointing the finger and saying, you know, "Oh, you're a [00:28:00] mean person or a, you know, you have said and done things."

It's really about pointing the finger back at ourselves and acknowledging the fact that we have all said and done things at different points in our lives that. Have negatively impacted other people. And it's really beautiful because it's, it was like a light bulb moment goes off for everyone in the room as they realize that, you know, they're the ones with the power to create change. And they're the ones in control of their school environment and their friendships and what those look like.

And then Lauren and I both share our testimonies of Lauren's experience in middle school, mine in high school. And then we screened the film, finding kind our documentary, which again is kind of at the heart of all of our assembly programming. And then after the film is when we dive into the different interactive activities with the girls.

So, we do a kind pledge, which allows them to use their voice, to take an action step in the name of kindness. So basically, they're committing to, [00:29:00] you know, do something within their school, within themselves thinking kind of thoughts about themselves, whatever that looks like for each person.

And we opened the floor for the girls to come and share their kind of pledges, which also creates a really beautiful and inspiring moment because, you know, here are girls standing up in front of their peers, you know, telling the entire female student body what they are going to do to create change. And then we follow that up with the kind apology, like I mentioned earlier, which is one of our favorite parts of the entire assembly really.

You know of kind campaign, just because it's so simple, you know, it's as simple as the sheet of paper, but it's just opening the floor for girls to take ownership and responsibility of their actions and to apologize. And we don't open the floor for those because. Obviously they're writing about really personal things, but what we do encourage them to do, and this is where, [00:30:00] you know, we just see so many life-changing kind of moments happen is we encourage them to hand their apology to the person that they've written it to after the assembly.

And, you know, there's times, even during the assembly that we'll see a girl stand up and walk over to the other side of the room and hand another girl her apology. And, you know, as we're standing at the front, watching these moments take place, you know, you see the girl receiving the apology and how much that means to her.

And oftentimes there's, you know, tears of reconciliation and hugs and a lot of times also there's a conversation surrounding that apology and talking through, you know, what happened and again, taking ownership and mending that friendship. And then we follow the kind apology up with the kind card, which again is super simple.

You know, all of these activities are really simple, but it's just giving girls the opportunity to say something kind about someone else. And, you know, sometimes they're written to their best friends. Sometimes they're written to a teacher, sometimes they're written to more of an acquaintance, you know, someone that they.

[00:31:00] They don't really talk to on a regular basis, but they've noticed that that person, you know, always sticks up for other people and they want to, you know, tell them how much they appreciate that. And we open the floor for them to share their kinds cards. And so it's so beautiful, you know, to hear all of these kinds of things that girls have to say about oftentimes people who are sitting in that room and then to watch the face of the girl who's receiving the kind card it's really incredible.

And then we follow up with some closing messages.

Lauren Paul: Yeah, I'd say there's several things that we share at the end, but a couple that I think are probably the most important takeaways. One is that it's just so important to reach out if you need help. During our stories, I share in seventh grade that I attempted suicide as a result of what I was going through with my bullying experience.

And so, to speak really honestly, about that and what that looks like. And, you know, whether it's something like that or cutting or depression or things going on at home, like there's just so much that we're all carrying in this life [00:32:00] and you don't have to suffer alone. And how important it is to reach out to an adult, to find someone that you trust, whether that's a family member or a counselor or a teacher, because they really do have.

The tools and the experiences, maybe even some things in common with that, the student to really help them process whatever it is and to get through that. So just from, you know, it's so simple, but just reminding them, you know, you don't have to go through this alone, I think is so important. And then just reminding the students that this is one chapter of their story, thinking back on our own school experience.

I don't like to say that to discredit what they're going through, because it is your entire world when you're in it. And that is totally valid… and those feelings are real and important, but sometimes you lose perspective of how big life is and how. You know, this is one, one chapter that there's so much ahead of you, that there's people you're going to meet there's relationships you're going to have... there's places you'll go that there are actually people out in the world right [00:33:00] now, living their own lives that those kids don't even know exist, right now. That one day they're going to meet and become friends with, you know, I met pretty much all of my best friends as an adult. I didn't know that when I was in school, you know?

And so just to remind them of these things, just so that they see the bigness, just how vast life is that this isn't it for them.

Liz Tenety: I know with COVID, that a lot of students who might ordinarily attend your in- person events are not able to attend in real life. And you've made some resources available online. Can you tell our listeners about that?

Lauren Paul: They created a platform so that students can have a virtual assembly at home. So, for any school that isn't going back to class, or if they are. But they would just like this to be more of like an extracurricular thing. We will have that option available, so students can do our whole program from home.

And we're really excited that we are doing because Molly and I do two tours a year. We tour in the spring and then in the fall, we're [00:34:00] obviously not going to be going on tour this fall. So, through that same platform, we have the ability to do a live, virtual founder's tour where Molly and I will be able to live stream into classrooms to share our stories, to do all of the activities.

Obviously, it'll look a little different for each school, but we have a whole setup to kind of navigate that with each school setup. So, if you're interested in being a part of our founder's tour, learning more about these programs. You can go to our website kind campaign.com or follow us at kind campaign. Because we'll be sharing all the information online about that.

Liz Tenety: So, so it's been over 10 years since you launched this kind campaign, you've seen real cultural transformation about how we talk to girls, how girls talk to themselves, even the role of women and women owning their power and in the moment that we're living through today, even redefining motherhood and all that is possible.

Well, for women as mothers, you deal with a lot of heavy stuff, but I wonder when you look to the [00:35:00] future, it gives you each hope.

Lauren Paul: I would say that just our experience with the work that we do and the impact that we see it truly make not only gives us hope for. The hearts of these girls and the connections that are going to make, not only with each other, but with themselves.

We see so many friendships mended, and we see so many conflicts resolved. And so many girls share how much more confident they feel, not only within themselves, but walking their school hallways. Now that they've had this experience and made these connections. And just to like. Sit within that space with these girls and to see things like that happen is really why we're able to do what we do.

Liz Tenety: And if I could just say, you know, you started this as a documentary over 10 years ago, you were college students at the time. But to me hearing the impact and seeing how passionate you both are, honestly, it's such a [00:36:00] reminder to me, for women listening that whatever that dream is inside of you, whatever that place in the world that you think you are here to improve.

Even if you doubt that you could do it. Look at the difference that two women who wanted to tell the story of bullying are having in so many lives. There is space for you, and we need more women and girls centered experiences, having assemblies in schools, creating companies, telling stories for too long, like our challenges have been on the sidelines or have been seen as ones that are not as serious or important.

And I just hope there is anyone listening who has an idea of some way that they think if they can make this world a better place, look at the power of this idea. That's what I hear also in your message as well, and the impact that you've been able to have.

Molly Thompson: Well, thank you for that. That's actually something that we leave with the girls in the assembly is that they have the power to [00:37:00] change the world and we encourage them to go after whatever it is that they're passionate about.

We encourage them to grab a friend and to do it together. And part of what we. Love to be able to show by example is the fact that two friends came together to do this and can campaign. Wouldn't be what it is today. If not for both of us coming together as friends to create this and to do this, everyone's voice holds so much power.

And, you know, if we all just spoke up and use our voices for the things that ignite us and ignite our souls and that we're passionate about so many beautiful things could happen and I think will happen.

Lauren Paul: I would also just say too, it doesn't have to be starting a campaign or, you know, fixing the environment or, you know, like we actually have a lot of conversations with girls and women about that.

Just saying like, I feel so overwhelmed. Like there's so many huge issues and like, I don't, how do you even get started and what do you do? And if you want to get into like a social environmental issue, that's amazing, but [00:38:00] it can also just be like what Molly said, whatever makes you come alive. Just do that thing.

If it's a hobby, if it's a certain career to pursue that, because one of my favorite quotes shares that idea and then just says what the world needs is people who have come alive. It's not necessarily about figuring out like what big issue, you know, the world needs fixing. It is whatever really makes you feel like you and makes you feel confident because when you do that thing, it's going to affect every part of your life in a positive way.

Liz Tenety: Well, Molly and Lauren with the Kind Campaign, thank you so much for joining us on the Motherly Podcast.

Lauren Paul: Well, thank you.

Liz Tenety: Before our next segment begins, I want to thank our sponsor, Highlights, Molly, and Lauren's kind campaign is so inspiring and it reinforces to me the responsibility. We all have to teach our kids kindness and empathy, HGighlights his range of content, which is designed to help kids see [00:39:00] the good in each other. See things from other people's perspectives and teach kids soft skills that go beyond childhood is a great way to reinforce these traits in our kids.

Molly and Lauren's Kind Campaign is inspiring and it really forces the responsibility that we all have to teach kids kindness and empathy. I've been reading highlights, hello magazine with my one-year-olds. And I love it. They're designed for kids age one to two years old, the content is whimsical, colorful and engaging, and I love how it helps my little guy learn traits like being, open-minded curious, caring and how they help model kindness and empathy to kids when they're still really young. And I also love that they're made of tear resistant washable material and have rounded corners since my little boy is always putting everything in his mouth. So, help your kids see the good in themselves, the good in others and the good in the world and discover what your kid can do. Try something new with highlights, learn more@discoverhighlights.com.

Liz Tenety: [00:40:00] First question. Do you know what a bully is? A bully? What does it mean to be bullied?

Mary: It means when someone… is mean to someone else.

Liz Tenety: Yeah. Does it feel good to get bullied?

Mary: No. No.

Liz Tenety: And instead of being a bully, do you know what you should be doing? How to treat other people, being kind, being a good friend, anything else that makes, instead of being a bully, you could be. What kind of person, we always say that, what else would he say?

Mary: He could say, I love you.

Liz Tenety: I love you.

Liz Tenety: [00:41:00] Well, that's it for our show this week. Thank you so much, Lauren and Molly, and thank you for listening. We would love it if you spread the word about our podcast. This season, we have so many amazing guests and are going to touch on so many relevant and important topics. I know you're going to love listening.

So, if you can please leave a review on Apple podcast, it takes about 30 seconds.

The Motherly Podcast is produced by Jennifer Bassett. Our editor is Anthony Lemos. Our music is from the Blue Dot Sessions. I'm your host, Liz Tenety. Thanks so much for listening.

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Hosted by Liz Tenety

Liz is an award-winning journalist and editor, and the co-founder of Motherly. A former Washington Post editor, she thrives on all things digital community + social media strategy. She's passionate about helping to provide women with more support, (and way less judgment), on the journey through motherhood. This podcast is an extension of her commitment to hosting honest conversations about modern motherhood. Liz resides outside NYC with her husband, two sons, one daughter and one amazing au pair.

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