Happy Random Acts of Kindness week! Well, RAK Week was actually celebrated last week February 11-18 but it is never too late to celebrate kindness! A principal friend of Debbie’s in East Grand Rapids, Linda Kehm who died of cancer in 2016 had a theme at her school called “Kindness Counts at Lakeside Elementary” that remains as a legacy theme to this day! Nice, huh?
One of our Leadership Matters Cohort 9 principals, David Anderson from Gibraltar Schools has a theme titled “Hustle Kindness!” Think of the definition not as slang, but as in to move or act energetically and rapidly or energetic activity; drive. In other words, the expectation is that every action, every event, every child experiences the kindness hustle! David shared with us that his son was born with the same syndrome and condition as the boy Auggie in the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio. His family and school family has used the book and the most recent movie release as an opportunity to inform, teach, and spread the importance of kindness, every child, every opportunity, every time!
If you haven’t seen the movie Wonder based on the book, it’s a must. Through different voices, it tells the story of a boy named “Auggie” who has Treacher Collins syndrome who tries to fit in. He has been homeschooled for several years and his parents decide to have him attend a private academy for middle school. Part of the syndrome presents a rare facial deformity that Auggie has to deal with both physically and emotionally, and socially. He is befriended by a young man at school who loves him unconditionally like his family. The principal scene with parents behaving badly is a can’t miss as you will definitely relate!
Last year, PARADE magazine paired with the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation to make 2017 the Year of Being Kind. Well, given all that happened in 2017 and continues to occur in our world of politics, it seems like we need to make every year the year of being kind. Lady Gaga stated: “Kindness is showing Love to someone else. I believe that kindness is the cure to violence and hatred around the world.” So let’s get our kind on!
Clearly you are aware of the research done on giving and receiving kindness and the medical benefits to be reaped. Our brains are wired for receiving endorphin highs from showing compassion toward others. An Oxford researcher, Oliver Scott Curry, recently analyzed more than 400 studies on kindness and released a report through Kindness.org on the benefits of being kind. The one act of kindness not only benefits you and the person receiving it, but those who witness it as well. A sort of domino effect through one simple act of kindness.
Over 4,500 educators have downloaded the free, Kindness in the Classroom social-emotional curriculum developed by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. To access the curriculum you have to create a kindness profile that takes just a few minutes. Look for the tab labeled educators.
Kindness.org lists several ways to get started being kind, one act at a time!
- Set a daily gratitude reminder
- Share your favorite uplifting song
- Compliment a stranger
- Let someone go first
- Pay it forward with coffee
- Gift a kind book
- Help someone carry their shopping bags
- Tag someone to tell them “I’m here for you!”
- Be kind to a classmate
- Read a book with a child
- Play #ispykindness with a child
- Ask kids or students what kindness means to them
- Walk your kid to school
Many of you have implemented “buddy benches,” gratitude bulletin boards, and “Million Acts of Kindness” campaigns. I thought that together we could create a Kindness Resource Page filled with free resources. I took some of the resources provided by Parade and others that I have collected. Feel free to add to the resource list and “harvest” them to your heart's content! Remember, there are three things important in life! The first one is to be kind, the second one is to be kind, and the third one is to be kind!