Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Top 10 Stories of 2012 Countdown - Story #10 - 177 Messages of Kindness


--by arathi, posted Dec 22, 2012

Out of all the afterschool programs offered in their school, three energetic 11-13 year old girls chose to join this one.  The “Random Acts of Kindness Class”, the first of its kind, was an innovative experiment, offering children the opportunity to use their creativity and artwork to inspire their school and community by doing random acts of kindness.  A few weeks ago, I spent an unforgettable afternoon with these girls and their inspiring teacher, learning about their semester long adventure…  

Why did you sign up for the Random Acts of Kindness Class?

“I wanted to learn different ways of spreading kindness.  There are people sitting at home who might not have a great life.  Some people need kindness just to make their day.” – age 11

“If you see someone upset, you just want to make them feel happy.   When you do something nice, the only thing you expect in return is a good feeling in your heart.” – age 11

“I thought the class would be really interesting.  I learned that kindness is a chain reaction.”  -- age 13

The students organized a “Random Acts of Kindness Week”, offering different activities that emphasized the importance of kindness.  One of those activities was the Kindness Chain Project.  Inspired by the belief that kindness is a chain reaction, students asked their peers to help in making a paper chain with stories of kindness on each link to be displayed in the lobby in front of the entire school.  Over the course of the week, 177 kids participated, offering numerous touching and deeply inspiring stories of kindness from their own lives:

”I let my sister squeeze my hand when she was in pain”

“I helped a special needs kid today”

Throughout the semester, these three enterprising girls took part in a variety of different projects spreading kindness around their school and in their community.  On one occasion, they created decorative signs on door hangers stating “do something kind today” and anonymously left them on teachers’ classrooms throughout the school.  On another occasion, they wrote poems and anonymously hid them in the park for people to find.  The girls spent another afternoon picking up trash around the school.  One girl stated, “Birds and squirrels live in the park, and the trash is ruining their environment, it can hurt them.  We wanted to help.”  The girls even made placemats for people in nursing homes, writing inspirational messages such as “peace + love = happiness” and “you are loved”. 

The experience left me with a heart full of gratitude for teachers willing to step beyond the boundaries of tradition, and offer students an opportunity to ground their education on values of service and empathy. 
 
And in the end, after almost two hours of excited chatter and laughter, I asked the girls one last question.

“So, does it make a difference how small or big the act of kindness is?”

No, it makes no difference.  In the end, the acts of kindness are all the same size because they all make someone smile.
 

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Readers Comments

all69anna wrote: I am going to reach out to my boys' school and ask if we can start a kindness club. What a great idea! Thank you!
thaata wrote: A cheerful pat on the back of the teachers who did away with the box instead of thinking beyond the box. Surely those students are the best citizens the society has and made a difference in the lives of many more.
sethi wrote: A lesson in kindness for us elders. Thank you for sharing.
bubblehugfairy wrote: Fantastic~ keep the kindness going and good work. We are hard-wired to be kind to each other, children show us this all the time! I share kindness and build bridges between with story and free hugs. I hope all the comments on your story give you the energy to continue the beautiful work you are doing!

Love and hugs, bubblehugfairy, kristin pedemonti
ThisWilPass wrote: Wow this is wonderful initiative. Will help in strenthening the roots. Thank you very much for sharing.

Take care
Twinkle wrote: That is so lovely, it really brought tears to my eyes. I love the kindness of children.
MakeSomeoneSmile wrote: That is awesome! I love that someone took the time to put together a class for raok! What a great lesson for the youth to experience and pass on to so many others!
heartwarmer wrote: I live in the usa and there have been so many acts of violence in our schools in recent years. This class could be the most important one to include in our educational system. Banning guns and hiring guards to protect our children is not the answer. Instilling kindness and connectedness is what we need to do.
tiggzzz wrote: What a great idea for a class. It puts chills up my spine to think that young people are getting into or wanting to get into a healthy habit like kindness. So many children never get the chance to do something so beautiful and bright with their own smiles. Kudos!

Jenny Williams wrote: How wonderful so many beautiful ideas! You should have your students read: wonder by ri palacio http://rjpalacio. Com/. This would be a nice compliment to your class.

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