I’m not sure if kindness ever went away, but we are witnessing a resurgence in kindness-related initiatives that I think are providing an antidote to the current behavior of politicians and certain world leaders.
It’s been around forever, it transcends religions, anyone can do it and it doesn’t have to cost any money. Aristotle defines kindness as “helpfulness towards someone in need, not in return for anything, nor for the advantage of the helper himself, but for that of the person helped”.
According to the great blog from Random Acts of Kindness, scientists tell us that some of the benefits of kindness include:
• Improved immune system functioning
• Decreased stress levels
• Feelings of meaning and purpose
• A sense of connectedness
Here are five kindness initiatives that you might like to support.
Random Acts of Kindness (RAK)
Random Acts of Kindness has grown over time and their website is full of awesome ideas for incorporating kindness in your daily life. Their educators page includes FREE K-8 lesson plans featuring developmentally appropriate, standards-aligned lessons that allow students to develop their Social Emotional (SEL) skills.
I’m co-sponsor of a club at school called Peer Helping and we lead a whole school celebration of RAK Week. Our students become RAKtivists, promoting and acknowledging acts of kindness within the building. You can sign up to become a RAKtivist here.
Their site also has free downloadable posters (see above) for elementary and high school age, available in both english and spanish. They also have free downloadable kindness calendars.
The Born This Way Foundation
If you’re reading this post in September, you’re just in time. Science says, doing something for 21 consecutive days helps turn it into a habit. That’s why Born This Way Foundation is inviting you to join their 21 Days To Be Kind challenge, starting on September 1st, making it a habit to put kindness into action and fostering a culture of compassion and wellness in the process.
If you sign up today, share your kind acts on social media with the hashtag #BeKind21, you’ll be entered to win two tickets to an upcoming Lady Gaga show!
Inspired by a simple tear-off flyer in a store, this initiative has been going strong for 3 years now and shows no sign of stopping. The premise behind this idea is simple. Print the #FreeComplimentsFriday poster and display. Sit back and watch as your students tear off the complements and hand them to their friends. Available in english and, thanks to Jorge Rodriguez, spanish too.
Do Good, Be Kind
I have a personal mantra that guides me. It’s “Do the right thing”. But if I had to choose another one, it would be “Do Good, Be Kind” which is the slogan behind this charitable movement.
Do Good. Be Kind.™ was born by way of a simple e-mail signature. It was a personal reminder that has evolved into an invitation to everyone everywhere to proactively do good and to lift ourselves and others through kindness. They are a small company with a big heart and simple mission; to make a difference. Their hope is that together we can shift the dialogue in classrooms, homes, and communities everywhere towards more human [kind]ness.
Chris Kurtz from Do Good, Be Kind was interviewed on a podcast.
The sendateacher initiative was born out of the fact that teachers are often unable to attend professional development due to a lack of financial support from their administration. Through the sale of merchandise designed BY #PhysEd and #HealthEd teachers FOR #PhysEd and #HealthEd 100% of the profits go towards supporting teachers in need. Over the last two years the sendateacher initiative has helped to send teachers to national conferences in Boston and Nashville. It has contributed to teacher GoFund Me causes, it has paid for @SHAPE_America membership for teachers and it proudly raised money for a Houston school that was demolished by Hurricane Harvey.
Looking for something to listen to? Check out The Kindness Podcast
Looking for something to read? Try Pay It Forward, the book that spawned the movie.