The day after the election I was in shock, then angry and finally depressed. And the thought of facing racism made me mad and ready to fight. And it’s not like I don’t spend a few hours punching every week. I was ready to fistfight, and, it turns out, I wasn’t the only one. Day 1 in Trump’s America is an ugly place to be.
But then I met with Valarie and Becky for Multicultural Children’s Book Day — we meet weekly via Skype for the months leading up to January 27th — and we realized that now, more than ever, we need to fight for acceptance of diversity through compassion. Believe me, this is not an easy leap to make for me! My first response would be to throw a punch when faced with racism, so I give myself this reminder today, on World Kindness Day, November 13th.
Today is World Kindness Day (and boy do we need it)
And, as I think about kindness, I am reminded of Valerie at Inner Child Fun (different Valerie than Valarie at Jump Into a Book/Multicultural Children’s Book Day) and how she inspired me with her 35 Random Acts of Kindness Birthday Challenge. I knew I wanted to face my own upcoming 48th birthday this way. It wasn’t easy to pull it off; I needed a month, but it was the best birthday present ever!
And just like that … ripples of kindness actually spread.
I had to research ideas to hit all 48 but I doing Easy Everyday Acts of Kindness could become a daily habit without too much effort. My kindness habit grew slowly but I wanted my kids to get involved.
Megan and Ellen of Confessions of an Over Worked Mom inspired me to make my own DIY Gratitude Advent Calendar which I did with my kids.
(pair this early chapter book with Each Kindness; they are similar stories)
“As an author, I visit a lot of schools, and I’ve been fascinated by the different kindnesses I’ve seen. There was the school with a designated “Kindness Corner,” and another with a program called “Caught Being Kind.” There were third graders on Long Island who cut their hair for Locks of Love, and a boy in Pennsylvania who spent an afternoon securing tennis balls to the chair legs in his classroom, buffering sounds so that his hearing-impaired best friend wouldn’t miss a word their teacher said.” What Kindness Can Do by Courtney Sheinmel at Nerdy Book Club.
Here are more ideas from Random Acts of Kindness: 10 Kindness Week Ideas for Schools.
- Kindness Activity Wall: Designate a wall or bulletin board to kindness! Download this PDF for ideas.
- Kindness Jar: Write down kind acts on slips of paper
- Positive Sticky Notes: So simple, but so effective.
- Caught Being Kind: Where do you see kindness in your school? Create bulletin boards that provide students with opportunities to recognize and share kindness with others.
- RAK Calendar: Share this Kindness Calendar Sheet from primarilypeace.tumblr.com with your students. How many students can check off all 30 kindness activities?
- Custodian Appreciation: As a class, take time to write letters and put up signs showing your appreciation for the people who take care of your school! You could also include: crossing guard, lunch ladies/men, school admin, teacher aides, school librarian, and others.
- Start a staff meeting or your first 10 minutes of class with an inspiring video
- Create a Third Party Compliments Box: Unique, effective and totally doable. See how students at Carol High School made theirs youtube.com/compliments-box-video.
- Track acts of Kindness By Grade: Every week, try highlighting an act of kindness from each grade.
- Set up a Thank You Note Station at your School: Studies show that practicing gratitude increases positive emotions and happiness.
You can also read picture books to inspire kindness. Megan at Coffee Cups and Crayons has Acts of Kindness Picture Books. Valarie at Jump Into a Book has a Kindness Book List for Kids. She also has book extension for Peep and Egg.
Kindness is contagious and it’s powerful. Let’s all celebrate with an act of kindness. It’s a gift that gives back. What are your favorite ways to spread kindness? What will you do today with your kids? Thanks for sharing and caring.
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p.s. Related posts:
BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.