Recently, I was invited by a high school principal at one of the schools I work with to attend an all school assembly on "kindness" as an approach to bullying prevention.
Having worked with this school in several capacities (drop out prevention, sexuality education in the health curriculum, child study intervention team member, and as an outside referral agency for sexual violence) I was quite familiar with the school and the district's approach to bullying and harrassment over the years. "The kindness guy" according to the principal was outside of the usual scope of programming ... perhaps a little touchy/feely, warm and fuzzy ... however it was supported by reputable community resources and came highly recommended, and so it was supported by both principal and the school district.
Michael Chase, the kindness guy, from The Kindness Center in Portland, Maine was introduced to an audience of over 500 students. For the hour that followed, you could have heard a pin drop in that auditorium. In all my years of working with middle and high school students, I have never witnessed anything like this!
Michael's passion was evident as he told his story and revealed the moment when his life transformed that one day when he shared a profound moment on the side of the road with a turtle. The very moment when his life changed forever and he began to pursue his mission of spreading kindness. The kids were mesmerized!
In class following the presentation, students were buzzing about the kindness guy, the turtle story of transformation, kindness, the kind of school culture they wanted to learn in, and how they might bring Michael's ideas and energy home to family, friends and the community.
The next day was declared "Kindness Day". The vibrational energy in the school over the next couple of days was electric. Random acts of kindness were happening everywhere! Hugs given and received, praise notes, expressions of appreciation and gratitude. Students, faculty, staff and administration all involved!
In heatlh classes following the presentation, in a spontaneous movement by a couple of students, about 65% of students expressed interested in starting The Kindness Crew and being actively involved in the movement.
The good news is that the Kindness Crew was formed. The other good news is that we are actively promoting kindness as a daily thing and are optimistic that we will reach a tipping point and get back to level that the kindness guy started!
The not so good news is that the momentum that the Kindness Guy and Kindness Day has certainly waned as the days go by.
The key message is that kindness is a daily thing. It is something that each one of us need to intentionally decide to incorporate into our day. It is also something we intentionally need to remind others to incorporate into their day!
It's not just a school thing ... it is an individual thing, a between family and friends thing, an in the classroom and hallways at school thing, a community thing, an at work thing, an in the grocery store thing, an online thing, a Facebook thing, a texting thing ... an everywhere thing!
Kindness is a state of mind, a vibrational energy level that, if reached and sustained, has the capacity to transform an individual, a relationship, friendships, a family, a school, a community, our planet, and beyond!
Check out www.thekindnesscenter.com.
Get yourself into the kindness zone by joining the Teen Clinic at White Mountain Health Center, the Kennett Kindness Crew and Positivity Nation in A Year of Positive Action at: