Apex Leadership Co believes that kindness is an important characteristic in every individual, regardless of age. When it comes to schools, teaching kindness at an early age can be a powerful way to instill this positive characteristic in students throughout their life. There are several ways that teachers and school staff can help teach this valuable lesson, and Apex Leadership shares the following suggestions.
Why is Kindness So Important
Kindness is quite literally defined as the qualities of being friendly, generous and considerate. These characteristics are important for all students to adhere to — in order to make new friends, to help new students feel included and for students to feel good about themselves, thus building confidence. Acting with kindness is a wonderful virtue and is a great way for students to showcase consideration for others.
Kindness also encourages people to change their perspective. Kindness is about empathy, not judging others, and looking to understand and learn from other’s perspectives versus thinking only of one’s self or thinking of one’s self first. Kindness is about reaching out, lifting others up and is quite frankly one of the most underrated qualities in a person. When youth are seeking new friends, they should look for the ones that are kind to everyone and the ones that want to be good people.
How to Teach Kindness
The really beautiful thing about kindness is that it’s contagious! One kind gesture in turn often encourages another — and so on! That old adage “treat people the way you want to be treated” is one way to help young students understand kindness and how to use to it make others — and themselves — feel good. But another important part of being kind is it should be an action that does not require a return action. Those that do something nice out of the kindness of their hearts generally do not expect any reciprocation from the kind act. Performing random acts of kindness at school is a great way to encourage and build kindness. Being kind also helps youth feel valued — another important characteristic that is a building block of true future leaders. Being valued, and feeling value from doing kind things, should not be underestimated.
One of Apex Leadership Company’s programs, the Random Acts of Kindness-a-thon, incorporates kindness through pledges. Donors support participants who then perform random acts of kindness at their schools and throughout their neighborhoods and communities. This program encourages kindness and also gives students and youth groups easy ideas for how to show and spread kindness. This is a win-win for students wanting to raise money for their schools or teams, and also provides a positive way to spread happiness around the community. Some simple random acts of kindness include:
- Holding the door open for someone
- Giving a random compliment on social media (or in person!)
- Smiling at a neighbor or new student
- Helping a neighborhood bring in their groceries or sweeping up their yard
- Texting a friend or far away family member to see how they are doing
- Helping a friend study for a test
- Bringing a grandparent flowers or a homemade card
- Thanking a veteran, military personnel, firefighter, police officer or healthcare worker for their service to the community — and the world
There are so many ways to spread happiness and create a ripple effect through simple kindness. Another great way to help students learn about kindness — and the importance of its impact — is to lead by example. Teachers, staff, guardians and parents can all take an active role in teaching youth kindness by simply being kind to others — and themselves! — on a regular basis. While today’s world can sometimes be rife with worry and negativity, perception and attitude can change anyone’s day. Having a positive attitude and one that allows adults to spread joy and kindness to one another can be a powerful way to teach children kindness and also spread kindness throughout the world around them. Few people are immune to the impact of kindness, and most people that spread kindness are also the people who are impacting their communities in a positive way. What better type of role model to lead by example for today’s youth?
How to Spread Kindness at School
When planning a school or youth group fundraiser, a random acts of kindness “thon” is a great way to bring focus and attention to the importance of kindness and allows donors an opportunity to get involved in a fundraiser that spreads positivity. Rather than purchase popcorn tins, wrapping paper or candles, donating to a positive cause that encourages youth to embrace and spread kindness is one that people feel good about! By allowing sponsors to choose their own donation amount per act of kindness or a flat donation fee if they choose also gives supporters the power give as much as they want, thus enlisting youth to do even more random acts of kindness.
Along with a random acts of kindness fundraiser, schools can instill the importance of kindness by talking about it in educational lessons and even simply spreading kindness through positive messaging in classrooms and hallways. There are so many inspirational quotes that can be used to remind students to use kindness in all interactions. A few powerful ones include:
“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” – Amelia Earhart
“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change.” – Bob Kerrey
“Kindness is a passport that opens doors and fashions friends. It softens hearts and molds relationships that can last lifetimes.” – Joseph B. Wirthlin
It’s also important to help students understand that kindness does not require a big action. Kindness can start so small — by saying hello to another student in the hallway or congratulating a student on the spelling bee or student council election. Small acts of recognition make everyone feel good, and these small acts spread and grow into larger acts as students grow and develop into the kindness stewards of tomorrow. Parents, teachers, leaders and guardians have a responsibility to help encourage that growth in the right direction — and so much of that unfolds with kindness!
For those that are considering a school fundraiser, start with a random acts of kindness-a-thon! This is a great way to involved the entire school and shine a light on kindness that will spread throughout the community!