Published: | By: Kim Gulbrandson Topics: Curriculum, Elementary, Middle School, Parenting, Social-Emotional Learning Why Kindness Matters “I experience kindness daily because I lead life with a positive perspective.” When my friend told me this, she reminded me how easy it is to go about our days without thinking of the little acts of kindness, without taking the time to appreciate and recognize them. I recently started a morning routine of recalling an act of kindness by someone in my life. That small change has elevated my mood and I am now more purposeful with my own kind words and actions. I wanted to give others in my life this same opportunity, so I asked people to recall an act of kindness and the impact it had on them. Turns out it usually had a BIG impact! These are some of the kindness memories people shared with me, which, as you can see, have had a positive effect in many aspects of people’s lives, sometimes lasting for years. Community and Neighborhood “Our neighbors shovel the walk and driveway and mow the lawn when they know we are away or not feeling well. It makes me feel good when I look outside and see what they did for us.” “I was in line at a coffee shop and someone started the chain of paying for the car behind them. My drink was paid for, so I paid for the person behind me. I remember smiling on and off all day.” “Children in our church neighborhood thank us for sponsoring their activities. It makes all the work we put into the community worth it.” Family “My uncle surprised me and fixed my heater. When someone does something nice without me expecting it, it brings a little joy to my life.” “My daughter made me a card for no specific reason. It said I was a ‘cool dad’ and that she loved me. It made me smile, and reminded me that I need to show that I care more often.” “My wife comes to all my chemotherapy and radiation appointments. It helps me get through the bad times and keeps me positive, because she is always there to support me.” School “I didn’t know anyone on the first day of high school, and I was afraid because I was shy. During my first class, a girl came up and talked to me, and my fear disappeared. I felt so welcome. That was 55 years ago, and we are still friends to this day. I’ll never forget that moment.” “When I was in fourth grade, I was bullied. My friends were there for me. They stood up to the other kids who were bullying me and told them to stop.” Work “A young boy came up to me and handed me a card that said ‘Thank you for what you do.’ I was beaming after that. The rest of my day was great.” “Someone I just met asked me about my career. After talking for a while, he told me that he appreciates the work I do. I felt valued. I’ve thought of that moment several times since that day, and it keeps me going during the tough times on the job.” My Experience Fortunately I’ve had many experiences with kindness lately, but I can’t help but share this one: I received this video in an email from Committee for Children, thanking educators for fostering the safety and well-being of children. I laughed, smiled, watched it again, shared it, and still watch it every time I need a little pick-me-up. Take some time to think about small acts of kindness in your life and how they’ve impacted you. Give your students time think about it too with this free Making a Difference classroom activity from Committee for Children. I hope kindness has an on you today, because kindness does matter.