Every day with her 9-year-old daughter’s lunch, illustrator Meaghan Elderkin includes a napkin with a message, drawing or just a little bit of love and inspiration. Each week Meaghan chooses a theme, which has included dinosaurs, other animals and lots of fun, silly jokes and puns. But when the U.S. election didn’t turn out the winner she and her daughter had been hoping for, she decided to use her daily ritual as a way to inspire something more.
In an interview with Babble, Meaghan explained:
“Holden a very sensitive kid, and she was genuinely worried about what would happen to some of the more marginalized groups in our country. But the morning after the election, she was the one comforting me and reminding me to ‘be brave like Malala.’”
This gave Meaghan an idea.
“I decided to draw her some pictures of strong, brave women with some of their more notable quotes. The first round of napkins I drew, the women were somber looking, and I couldn’t even bring myself to draw them with their eyes open. I felt as if we, as a country, had let them down, and I think subconsciously I was trying to protect them from seeing what we had done. But after a few days of moping and wallowing, I decided to take my own advice, and I redrew them. Bigger and more confident, and with their eyes open.”
Since posting the first group of “badass women from history,” Meaghan has received tons of positive feedback. “I’m not sure that I realized how many people these napkin drawings would reach, or how enthusiastically they would be received. I hadn’t realized that I as a mother, had a loud enough voice to make any sort [of] difference and it made me see that even the smallest acts of encouragement are worth doing.”
Meaghan has been continuing with this theme, and due to the popularity, she’s even made some of the illustrations into awesome t-shirts. You can check out a bunch more of Meaghan’s napkin drawings on her website meaghanelderkin.com.