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Chalk It Up to Happiness

By Dennis Finocchiaro

I’m one of the many people who recently turned into somewhat of a stay-at-home, homeschooling dad. 

About a week ago, after the pandemic started, I took my daughter for a walk. Not only was it a beautiful day, but we both needed time out of the house. We practiced reading numbers and letters on houses and street signs — she’s 4 — and headed toward the walking path in our local playground.

That’s where I first saw it: positive messages and drawings on the walking path, in chalk.

Simple, Uplifting Words

Flowers, rainbows and happy faces covered the walk. 

“Smile” in bright pink and blue definitely made me smile.

“Stay positive.”

And I have to say, I felt very uplifted. It made me feel a little better, and my daughter loved pointing out all of the colors and drawings.

“Can we do that when we get home?” she asked.

“Of course!” I responded. And we did.

Chalking It Forward

As my daughter decided what to draw, I checked Facebook. (Is anyone else’s weekly phone usage skyrocketing? I don’t even want to check my Sunday iPhone screen time report anymore.) Apparently, chalk on the sidewalk was becoming a positivity movement.

I saw friends from different parts of the country posting similar photos of what they saw on their family walks. What a great idea!

This is just one way of spreading happiness and positivity to the multitude of people who, under stay-at-home orders, began walking the neighborhood to get out of the house. And let’s face it, we’re all doing that now, aren’t we? Those of us who aren’t out there saving the world, anyway. The number of cars passing our house has slowed to a crawl, but the number of pedestrians has multiplied substantially. So why not add some color and positivity to their outings!

My daughter decided on drawing a “big, big, big, pink flower.” As she started her masterpiece, I asked her what I should write.

“How about ‘smile’? Then maybe people who see it will smile.” 

We worked together on a giant, four-colored rainbow — since we only have four colors of chalk right now — with a big yellow sun. 

“You forgot to make a happy face on the sun!” she said. So we added that.

The movement adapted a bit over time as well. A new trend to the chalk art uses painter’s tape to make a design and then color the spaces in between. It makes a pretty cool image.

My daughter and I colored the sidewalk together that day, and it wasn’t the last time. We go out and decorate our sidewalk now, generally after every rainy day. And we hope it’s spreading cheer like the words and drawings we first saw last week at the playground.

This story was originally published in the TRIBAL under the TRIBAL Premium Partner Program. More information about TRIBAL can be found at

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