Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Random Act of Kindness Tuesday-Why teach kindness?

This month is Bullying Prevention Month. Over the course of the month I have been emphasizing friendship and kindness to my students as tools to preventing bullying. 

It is incredibly difficult to teach these skills to students when our current political atmosphere, especially here in San Diego County is exhibiting the complete opposite of kindness and friendship. 

A parent asked the other day, "Viking Mom, whats the point of teaching kindness when our society is so unkind?" 

Yes, what is the point? 

There is a point and it should be encouraged and here is why.

KINDNESS INCLUDES EVERYONE. Kindness crosses all those distinctions that we sometimes place among ourselves — distinctions of race, religion, culture, gender, age. Students learn that kindness is a language that everyone understands. Through kindness, we celebrate diversity.

KINDNESS IMPROVES STUDENTS’ SELF-ESTEEM AND THE SCHOOL CLIMATE. Whether academically proficient or not, students are given a way to excel through kindness, and excel they do. One teacher said that a few students who appeared to be headed down destructive paths were turned around due to the increased self-esteem and positive involvement that the school’s kindness program offered 
them. Other teachers have said that students are more willing to participate in class when they know that ridicule of their answers will not be tolerated. Thus, the learning environment is enhanced.

KINDNESS IS EMPOWERING. Kindness is one of the most powerful interpersonal tools that we, as human beings, use to connect with one another. When we sense someone’s need, we either choose to help in some way… or we choose not to. If we act from empathy, we will offer kindness, and in that moment a surprising, gracious, humanitarian connection is made. This is the positive power that each of us — including children — possesses. During difficult times, kindness propels students into action and gives them power when they feel powerless. They can do something to improve the world. You will find examples of students’ responses to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, in this guide under “Response to Tragedy.”

KINDNESS HELPS STUDENTS CONNECT ACTIONS WITH CONSEQUENCES. Students are almost always positively reinforced when they are kind to others. They see the grhttp://www.cnn.com/2012/10/19/tech/social-media/messages-for-malala/index.html?iid=article_sidebaratitude of the recipient; they hear the “thank you.” They know that they made a difference.

KINDNESS IS A VITAL, LIFELONG, INTERPERSONAL SKILL. Students will use kindness daily in their relationships at home, at work, and in the community. Kindness is an awareness that each of us develops with practice and over time. Through the kindness we give and receive, we 
begin to understand that we are intrinsically connected to those around us. We realize that we are part of a human community, in which giving and receiving kindness are vital to our health, harmony, and hope.
 Our children deserve to learn and experience this life skill of kindness… and so do we all. Let kindness flow!

— Your friends at The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

There are times when I wonder if I am fighting a loosing battle. Then I read about Malala Yousufzai. This courageous Pakistani young lady was shot along with two of her friends for wanting to learn. The international out pouring of concern and support is inspiring. There is still kindness around the world. 

I think when Hope stayed behind after Pandora's Box was opened Kindness was lurking in the shadows.

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