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An Abundance of Opportunities for Kindness

One thing we always have an opportunity to do is to spread kindness. Yet we often forget how important spending an extra moment or two can be to others, especially if they are having a bad day. Have you ever been at the drive through and had the person ahead of you pay for your order for you? How did it make you feel? I had this happen to me once and thought, wow. It absolutely made my day. Little acts of kindness such as holding the door open for someone or letting them go in front of you in the grocery store (if they only have a few items and you have a many) are just simple acts that go a long way.

In school, so often we focus on reading, writing, and math but very rarely are there explicit lessons taught on kindness in comparison to the amount of focus on academic skills. In elementary school, there is some focus on kindness and building relationships but it is not the focus as students move through the grades.

As a teacher, I think we need to spend more time focusing on building skills around kindness and compassion. This is because I often find that I have students who can be very gifted in academic areas yet they struggle in their ability to cooperate with others. Yet in the real world, the ability to cooperate and collaborate is a skill that is needed in almost every industry. I worry more about my gifted students who do not have social skills, than I ever do about my students who struggle with the academics yet have the ability to cooperate with others.

In my daughter’s first few years of school the teachers would always report on how she was doing academically. My response was always, “I don’t really care about that, I know she is smart, I have no worries about her academics. Is she being kind? Are the students kind back?” Those were the questions I really wanted to know. This is because going into a space where kindness is valued affects all areas of a child’s growth. If they do not feel that others will be kind they will not be willing to take risks in their learning and try new things out of fear of being made fun of by others. Developing schools that foster kindness will truly benefit all areas of kids learning because they know that no matter what happens their peers and teachers will approach them with kindness and compassion.

Cooperation and kindness are really skills that we should all learn and spend a few extra minutes to spread. Spreading kindness can have a huge impact on the person giving kindness and the receiver. We often think that only the receiver gets the benefits of kindness but in reality all people involved do. Spreading kindness creates a ripple effect that can spread across the world.

Here are some simple ways to spread a little more kindness: write a kind note to someone, truly listen when others are talking, give a compliment, volunteer your time by helping in your community, show appreciation (maybe there are times that you forget to say thank you), make a point of showing gratitude for others, run an errand for someone, be a good role model, give words of encouragement, inspire others to spread kindness. A little kindness can truly go a long way.

Don’t forget to spread a little kindness to yourself. The more kindness you have for yourself the more you have to share with others, self care and self-compassion are key to bringing a little more kindness to yourself and to the world.

We have opportunities each and every day to spend an extra moment or two to be kind. What will you do to spread kindness? For the next week try to become aware of moments where you could be a little more kind or do a random act of kindness. At the end of each day write down that extra moment of kindness that you did for the day. At the end of the week take notice of how you feel and how others treated you this week. Did your kindness spread to the others around you? Stop and take notice.

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