Back To School Kindness

In Angela Vinet, Community, Janet Maines by Lola Magazine

Kindness is quite literally defined as the qualities of being friendly, generous, and considerate. These characteristics are important for all students to adhere to in order to make new friends, to help new students feel included and for students to feel good about themselves, thus building confidence. Acting with kindness is a wonderful virtue and is a great way for students to showcase consideration for others.

Kindness also encourages people to change their perspective. Kindness is about empathy, not judging others, and looking to understand and learn from other’s perspectives versus thinking only of one’s self or thinking of one’s self first. Kindness is about reaching out, lifting others up and is quite frankly one of the most underrated qualities in a person. When kids are seeking new friends, they should look for the ones that are kind to everyone and the ones that want to be good people.

The really beautiful thing about kindness is that it’s contagious! One kind gesture in turn often encourages another — and so on! That old saying “treat people the way you want to be treated” is one way to help young students understand kindness and how to use to it make others and themselves feel good. But another important part of being kind is it should be an action that does not require a return action. Those that do something nice out of the kindness of their hearts generally do not expect any reciprocation from the kind act. Performing random acts of kindness at school is a great way to encourage and build kindness. Being kind also helps youth feel valued — another important characteristic that is a building block of true future leaders. Being valued, and feeling value from doing kind things, should not be underestimated.

There are so many ways to spread happiness and create a ripple effect through simple kindness. Another great way to help students learn about kindness and the importance of its impact is to lead by example. Teachers, staff, guardians, and parents can all take an active role in teaching youth kindness by simply being kind to others and themselves!  While today’s world can sometimes be rife with worry and negativity, perception and attitude can change anyone’s day. Having a positive attitude and one that allows adults to spread joy and kindness to one another can be a powerful way to teach children kindness and also spread kindness throughout the world around them. Few people are immune to the impact of kindness, and most people that spread kindness are also the people who are impacting their communities in a positive way. What better type of role model to lead by example for today’s youth? 

Smile at everyone you pass in the hallway.

Hold the door open for others.

Sit by someone who’s eating alone or someone new. 

When you experience something good, share it with people.

Don’t gossip!

Talk to someone you don’t usually talk to and try to get to know them.

Say please and thank you when you ask for things.

Compliment someone.

Help a classmate when they’re confused.

Ask new people to be in your group during class.

Ask someone how their day’s going and genuinely listen to their response.

Make eye contact when you talk to people.

Forgive someone when they hurt your feelings.

Give someone positive feedback when they’ve done something well.

Apologize when you mess up.

Listen when someone needs to talk.

Say thank you a lot.

Share your things.

Tell people to “have a great day”.

Don’t judge people.

Put a sticky note with a positive message in the hallway above the drinking fountain or bathroom mirror.

Ask your teacher about their life and what they enjoy doing when they’re not teaching.

Give someone a hug.

Stop talking and listen.

Be patient.

Let someone go ahead of you in line.

Call and talk to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while.

Thank the school cooks and janitors for everything they do.

Make sure everyone at the table feels included in the conversation.

High five people you pass in the hallway.

Write a thank-you note to someone.

Leave a nice note on someone’s desk.

Talk to someone at school that you’ve never talked to before.

Bring your bus driver a little treat.

Give someone a tissue when they’re crying.

Find the goodness in people you don’t always get along with.

Be happy for other people.

Surprise your friend with their favorite snack.

Tell someone why they are special to you.

Leave a “have a good day” note in a library book.

Happily participate when you really don’t want to.

Be generous.

Be honest.

Help a teacher pass out or collect papers.

Offer to clean the whiteboard.

Tell your teacher thank you at the end of class.

Cheer your classmates on.

Give teachers and classmates your full attention when they talk.

Tell the truth.

Make someone laugh with a silly joke.

Do the tasks that no one else wants to do.

Volunteer to tutor or read to elementary students.

Be inviting: invite someone to your house, eat lunch with you, be on your team, play at lunch recess

Don’t interrupt people.

Be selfless, put other people’s interests and needs above your own.

Illustration by Janet Maines

This issue of Lola Magazine is dedicated to the memory of Landry Anglin

May we all learn to live life more like Landry 

To know Landry was to love her. She brought sunshine and smiles wherever she went. Full of love. Full of life. Full of kindness. 

Landry was a hugger. She easily shared her joy and passion for life with others, which naturally drew people toward her positive light. Not one school day passed when Landry didn’t give me a hug. I called her “My Darling Girl”. I love her.

She certainly was a light on any dark day. May she continue to guide us toward the positive of loving one another and acceptance of all, which to her was nothing more than just loving people for who they are.

We love you, Landry Faith.