Random Acts of Kindness are not random when you create a calendar to follow. Often posts found on teacher sharing sites show bulletin boards designed to encourage acts of kindness. These bulletin boards may direct students to pull off a sticky note with an act of kindness for them to do. On the surface this sounds like a wonderful idea, promoting positive social interactions in a class or school. Yet if you take a deeper look into this concept, you will see the teacher directed aspect. If you are directing students to pick an adult generated kind act to perform, then all that is being accomplished is the performance of kindness. Don’t we want to encourage students to develop behaviors that are kind? To take the time to originate actions that take into account the situation and the feelings of other people?
My former school uses the phrase Mindful Acts of Kindness. The notion of being mindful indicates that one has a heightened awareness. A student who mindfully listens in class may pay attention to the directions and reserve questions till the end to see if the questions are answered but the instructor. By emphasizing the idea of being mindful in one’s actions, this raises the idea of acts of kindness from something that does not have a conscious aspect to an act that is thoughtfully enacted.
So, how to make acts of kindness mindful? Maybe instead of taking someone else’s idea of a kind act off a bulletin board, a student can add their sticky note to the bulletin board when they do an act of kindness. This may inspire other students to do this act of kindness in the right circumstance. Create a class calendar of Mindful Acts of Kindness, at the end of the day have students fill in the monthly calendar with a mindful kind act they did or observed. What a thoughtful way to conclude the school day, with a discussion of kind actions!
Classes can keep a count of their Mindful Acts of Kindness, maybe trying to add to the count each week. Students can vote on their favorite Mindful Act of Kindness and that is reported to the parents through the teacher’s page, bringing the conversation about Mindful Acts of Kindness home. Use the power of social media…a teacher or Principal can tweet out Mindful Acts of Kindness observed in the class or school.
Doing a kind act is wonderful and should be promoted! I would like to encourage all of us to be more meaningful in those acts. Let’s try to pair mindful thinking with acts of kindness. As we get ready to start a new school year, let’s spur students to think about those around them and how they can be mindfully kind every day!
Originally posted on Thursday, 03 August 2017