(image from Pixabay)
Working with schools and teachers I hear about some wonderful acts of kindness ... like the school that gives their teachers a half day every week to bond, relax, and look after their wellbeing, to classes where children with disabilities are so included in the learning, the play, and the friendships, that their peers don't see their disabilities anymore and they are lovingly accepted into the crowd.
But I want to tell you about a very simple, but highly effective, kindness activity that a teacher has done with her class -
Gathering her pupils together the teacher told them that they were going to pass a list of all their names around the room, and next to each name a child was to write something kind and lovely about their classmate. It didn't matter whether you were friends or enemies, it had to be a kind word, thought, or observation. It was to be done as anonymously as possible. So the list was passed around and by the end every child had had a kind thing written about them. The teacher then tore up the list so that every child's name and the lovely thing written about them was separate, she then folded all of the paper and squeezed each piece into its own balloon. The balloons were then blown up, and kept in a corner of the classroom. Each day a balloon was selected and popped, the piece of paper handed to the child it belonged too, from which they then read out the kind thing said about them. The children could keep these kind words, and call on them whenever they felt sad or angry or unsure, or even if they felt happy and loved. It was a kind thing that had been said about them and it was their kindness good luck charm. Kindness rocks.
So to help finish off my #2017CharacterChallenge Kindness Month I want to select 5 friends and write a kind thing about them (for all my friends and family members that miss out here, please don't think that I can't think of a kind thing to say about you, I am fairly confident I could find a kind thing to say about every person I know, but if I wrote something kind for everyone on this blog post it would be one uber long piece of writing!!)
Anj - You are such a bundle of pure energy that inspires and motivates me to live life to the full. You are one of the best people I know.
Jess - Quiet and observant, you always know the right thing to say at exactly the right time and also the right thing to do at exactly the right time. You have taught me how to pull no punches and stand up for myself, and for that I thank you.
Jean - So so wise Jean, you are like the fairy godmother I have always wished for. Kind, tender, and always there to listen and then sagely give the perfect advice, you really are an amazing lady.
Janelle - One of my oldest friends, and still there with that massive, huge, epic heart of yours. Always loving and pure, you are an amazing mother and an amazing friend, love you loads.
Jayne AND Fred (can't separate these two) - My two business partners who have challenged me, pushed me beyond my comfort zone, and always held my hand when I needed understanding and support - you guys are the bomb, so smart, so loving, and so dedicated to helping others.
This month has really made me open my eyes to the kindness that surrounds us and that we give ourselves. It really is in the tiniest of thoughts, words, and actions - when someone tells you that your hair looks lovely today, or that you cooked a delicious dinner, or that offer to drive you to the train station. It can also be in the biggest of thoughts, words, and actions - a little muslim boy who was detained at a US airport on his birthday (after President Trump's diabolical ban of certain people entering the States) has "Happy Birthday" sung to him on his release (with the crowd cheering), George Michael, who after his death, it was discovered that he had donated swathes of money to charities and also volunteered his time to help others, to a young girl with terminal cancer inspiring a movement of kindness as her legacy.
To finish of this month of kindness I really want you to think about who has been kind to you lately, and as I have above, write a kind word about them and then tell them, give them some kindness, from your heart to theirs ....
... and onto February, where I will explore Compassion.