SHELBY COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - A Shelby County dad’s inspiring notes to his children are going viral. Every morning, Billy Ivey takes a paper towel and a sharpie, sits at his kitchen table and writes notes to put in his kids’ school lunches.
This week he’s having fun as they head back to school. His note says, “Remember summer? ha ha ha.”
Many of the notes are funny, but also sweet. For instance: “You are a neat kid so why is your room a mess?” He also passes along inspirational thoughts, such as, “Attitude is everything, but today is not yet anything, fill it with laughter.” That particular quote echoes a note Billy’s father wrote to him years ago when he failed to make his high school basketball team.
Now, Billy is doing the same for his kids and more. With five kids in the Ivey family, those notes add up. Billy started writing them when his oldest entered kindergarten. She’s now in college. His 14-year-old daughter has saved all of her notes, which bury the kitchen table. Now, he shares them online as “Napkinisms.”
Billy Ivey’s Napkinisms have taken on a life of their own. They are now shared in patients’ lunches at Children’s of Alabama, and through the Chick-fil-A Foundation. After a 20-year career in advertising, Billy is making an impact he never expected. He says, “I have found it to be ultimately true, you don’t have to do world-changing things to change the world. You don’t have to do something grand. It can be something stupid as writing notes on a paper towel to your kids.”
So what is his back-to-school advice for parents? He says it’s all a matter of being intentional and present with your kids. Just show up. Billy says, “It’s not necessarily ‘what’ I write... but ‘that’ I write these notes to my kids. The intentionality behind it is what’s truly important.”
He says his kids’ favorite notes aren’t the clever, funny ones, but rather the notes that simply say, “I love you.” He tells other parents, “Don’t try to do too much. Just show up and let your kids know you love 'em regardless and in spite of what’s going on.”
If you’d like to learn more about Billy Ivey and his Napkinisms, visit this website.
Remember you can also nominate someone you know who is “Doing Good” at this link.