A Kindness Challenge for a Challenging World
If you are unfamiliar with Jeff Kubiak's work, I hope you will explore it. Like me, Jeff believes in the power of truly taking the time to "see" people. His compassionate work beautifully showcases his dedication to equity and social justice. I believe his message is one our world desperately needs to hear right now. If you are an instructional leader, I encourage you to consider how you can use his work as you lead adults. If you are an educator, consider how to use his material to help students reflect on their lives and individual roles in society. I hope you enjoy his post and take his challenge to support Random Acts of Kindness Day. -Sherry St. Clair
A year or so ago, soon after publishing my first book, One Drop of Kindness, I came up with several different challenges for schools, homes, businesses, and more to help promote kindness in our everyday lives.
It was clear that the timing was on point. Many people were hurting. Our world, and even especially our beloved country (USA) needed help. There were too many people choosing hatred, anger, discrimination, prejudice, and other negative things over kindness. Well, I believe it is time again for an uplifting challenge to embed kindness into our DNA. I’d like to see us reinvent our thinking, intentions, and our mantra. While not EVERYONE needs to focus on acts and words of kindness, it can’t hurt if we have a reminder, can it?
Everyone has a story to share, and some people have more than one, but deep down, there is something to be uncovered in all of us. I’ve been in many schools, and have worked with thousands of children and educators. One common theme rings true with every single child; they all WANT to do good. They INTEND to do good. But, at times, they are led down the wrong path, and the habits and patterns of hatred take over.
Kindness comes from the heart so easily for some. Others? Well, just look at the news, or on social media today. Kindness has become lost and sunken so deep for many people, it is like trying to raise the Titanic. Because each child AND adult has a unique story, the trait of kindness can take quite long to be brought to the surface, but, as a society, I believe it must be on the forefront for all of us.
People have been hurt, broken, abused, betrayed, abandoned, misled, biased, oppressed, and so much more, that the depth of pain varies for all of us. That is why it is imperative to act now with intentional positivity, and kindness for all. In One Drop of Kindness, the main character, Gus, goes on a powerful journey. He begins life as an abandoned boy that learns the ways of emptiness, hatred and despair. Eventually, he recalls an echo from when he was a baby, that helps him find Kindness in his heart, and he learns to spread drops of kindness for all to see.
It is in Gus’ message that I tried to convey my own struggles throughout my life. Not only was I hurt, dejected, picked on at times as a child AND adult, but I did many hurtful things as well! Unfortunately, many things that take place in the book actually happen at schools, homes, parks, workplaces and places in between, all over the world.
1. Be intentional and mindful about how you treat others and yourself.
2. Pause before you react, and then use kind words to RESPOND.
3. Be empathetic with your actions and let kind acts takeover.
These acts can soon gain the ripple, or domino effect, and are used to challenge others to use kind words, or simple random and kind acts. Kind acts can be free, by doing things such as; opening doors for others, giving up a seat on a bus or train, helping someone cross the street, offer to give a sandwich or drink to someone, using a kind tone on the phone to a customer service representative, picking up trash at a school, park or community area.
There can be acts of kindness that have very nominal costs as well; pay the toll on the bridge for the car behind you, purchasing a coffee, throwing in an extra tip at the restaurant, giving gift cards, and so much more.
While kindness may not be rocket science, it really does make a difference. Kindness is so important that the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has a kindness institute! HERE. Imagine that! They are studying the positive outcomes of what kindness can do to improve our lives!
Think of how someone’s tone, and/or body language can completely change a transaction, or positive moment. Maybe ask how someone is, or if they need something before you put in a demand, or an aks. Remember too, that for some, kindness is a heavy task, and so difficult to find. Use patience, pause, and respond instead of reacting. Then show everyone you know (even strangers)that kindness can win and help takeover the pain, hatred, and frustration of the world’s troubles.
If we can ditch the prejudice, labels, biased and predetermined mindset of all people, then we will be off to an amazing start. Help me discover each person’ story, what makes them tick, and how life may or may not have helped them find happiness, kindness and peace. My new book, It’s Me, looks at this exact topic. I have compiled real vignettes, written by students, and educators who have been marginalized, biased, or not accepted for one reason or another. By listening to our stories, we can hear and see that we all have something to share.
I hope you’ll accept the Kindness Challenge, and please share with me pictures, ideas, thoughts, and success from our world becoming a more kind, inclusive, and equitable place.
I offer free author visits via Skype, Zoom, or Meet, and offer consulting, speaking, book talks, professional development and more at https://www.jeffkubiak.com/.
Remember, One Drop of Kindness is all it takes, to fill a heart with love.
Together, we can create Drops of Kindness and change the world.
Educator, Author, Speaker, Advocate for All Kids
Twitter - @jeffreykubiak
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