With school back in session, emotions are high over here.
While many students are super excited to meet the new teacher, to see old classmates, and to get acquainted with a new schedule, other students may not be quite as thrilled about going back. There can be a lot of stress and anxiety that comes with the new year, and often we, as parents and teachers, tend to forget that.
This year, with the release of the Born This Way Foundation’s study on Kind Communities and with the launch of Staples’ and Lady Gaga’s digital kindness tree, I thought it would make sense to begin the school year with a 25-day kindness challenge.
Kindness does not take a whole lot of time, friends.
It really doesn’t.
But kindness does require a little bit of effort. And focus.
The payoff for kindness, however, is huge.
Whether you’re in school, in the workplace, or at home, it doesn’t matter. Kindness matters in more ways than you may think.
Here’s the skinny. . .
25 Days of Kindness, 25 Ways to Be Kind to Others
The Kindness Study
Born This Way Foundation worked in collaboration with the Benenson Strategy Group this summer to interview thousands of Illinois parents and young people, ages 15-24 years old, about the mental health state of young people.
The findings were pretty interesting. Bottom line: Young people who describe their environments as ‘kind’ are more likely to be mentally healthy. That’s true for youth in high schools, colleges, and the work place.
Makes sense, right? But there’s more.
The study was called Kind Communities – A Bridge to Youth Mental Wellness. Read the whole thing, and let me know what you think.
25 Days of Kindness
Given the study results, I think it would really make sense for families to make kindness a focus for the next 25 days.
If we all focus on kind behaviors and on demonstrating kindness, wouldn’t the world be a better place? It would.
If we make kindness a focus, everyone would be able to share their kind deeds on the Staples for Students Digital Kindness Tree, which would inspire others to be kinder, and the cycle would go on and on until every community was a “kind community” and every student would feel less stress and anxiety. Woo-hooo!
Here are the 25 ways to be kind that we came up with and that are on our quickie little printable:
- Say “hi” to someone new today.
- Pay for someone’s coffee.
- Reach out to a former teacher and say “thank you”.
- Send an email to an old friend.
- Share a joke or funny photo to brighten someone’s day.
- Hold the door for someone.
- Call a family member.
- Smile at someone.
- “Like” or comment on 5 people’s social media posts.
- Leave a treat for the postal worker.
- Call an old friend.
- Invite someone to lunch or dinner.
- Ask someone how his or her day is going.
- Carry something for someone today.
- Really listen to people today.
- Leave a happy anonymous note for someone.
- Give someone flowers.
- Clean up after someone today.
- Smile at a stranger.
- Put a smiley face on someone’s bike, car, or desk.
- Push in someone’s chair.
- Thank someone for his or her service.
- Send a card to someone. Just because.
- Share a compliment.
- Send a happy emoji to 5 people.
And that’s it. Super simple things, right?
If you want to print out this list, you can grab it here:
Remember, after you do one of these simple acts, share it on the Staples for Students Digital Kindness Tree and watch how kindness grows and spreads!
The Staples for Students Kindness Tree
1.) Visit StaplesKindnessTree.com to see what others are doing, and be inspired to go above and beyond the list we created, or click the image below:
2.) Follow #GrowKindness to see what your friends are doing.
3.) Share the results of Kind Communities with your children. Talk about the survey results and see if your children agree or disagree with the findings. It may open up a really interesting discussion. They may see Staples and Lady Gaga in a new light, knowing how important these issues are to them!
It’s a really super simple concept, right? Be kind to others.
But, as I said before, and as was found in the study, the payoffs for being in a kind community are huge.
For more, see:
And here are a few other posts that will keep kindness a focus:
fyi: This post was written as part of a partnership with Staples. As always, my opinions are all my own, influenced only by my experience as a parent and educator.