Mark your calendars! Random Act of Kindness Week is fast approaching—February 12th-18th, to be exact. The significance of the week is simple: to make the world a better place by brightening the days of others. (Who can’t get behind that?!)
When I was setting up my classroom in August, I “grew” a paper Kindness Tree on one wall. All throughout August, my students collaborated on a daily basis to agree upon 1 random act of kindness to commit. We used RandomActsofKindness.org as a springboard for ideas! I loved this project on a number of levels, not least of which was watching kids establish a sense of purpose and fulfillment through helping others. A few of the acts the kids selected were picking up litter around campus, lending a hand with chores at home, holding the door for someone, and complimenting a new student. The common thread in the acts was the cost (free!), but each act served a distinct purpose.
At the end of every class, an act for the night was selected. At the beginning of the next class, a reflective discussion on said act was held. Students shared how committing the act made them feel and, when applicable, how the recipient of the act responded. Once the discussion wrapped up, students grabbed a paper heart and on it wrote what they had done. They then added the “fruits of their labor” to the tree. Before long, it was flourishing with memories of kind acts!
Not long ago, students returned from Winter Break. All were excited about the new toys they’d received and the fun activities they did. I had them think back upon 2016 and write about one favorite memory, fully expecting toys and play to be a big hitter. I was touched to read that the highlight of one child’s year was committing a random act of kindness back in August! He wrote about supporting a buddy who was down on himself about a test score. In real time, the moment probably lasted no more than a minute or two, but the impact of that moment was far greater lasting.
Beyond RandomActsofKindness.org, another great source for inspiration is Johnjay & Rich’s #LoveUp segment on 104.7 FM; local radio personality Johnjay Van Es started a movement within the valley to promote random acts of kindness, and the movement spread like rapid fire! People now call into the show from all around the country to share their #LoveUp moments (AKA random acts of kindness). I recently heard a woman call in to say that her car had broken down on a cold, dark night. A man, who was homeless and panhandling nearby, saw the woman and offered her his blanket. Just listening to it, I was moved. It was clear that the caller was as well.
As you celebrate Valentine’s Day with those you cherish, take time to spread the joy with those you may not even know! Include the kids; they’re bound to love it! From me to you, warm & fuzzy wishes in this wintery month of February!