Saturday November 13th was “World Kindness Day”. It seems awfully narrow (to me, anyway) to confine kindness to a single day. I would love it if we’d at least acknowledge the season of Thanksgiving as the season of giving kindness and joy. And heaven knows we could use a lot of both in our lives.
Whether you are a teacher, librarian, or parent, I know you are looking for ways to engender generosity of spirit, kindness, and compassion in the children around you. I do think these values can be taught. I’m quietly hopeful that my book CARRY ME HOME can inspire every reader to think about those less fortunate.
Here are a few suggestions for carrying kindness forward, and modeling generosity.
#1 Often we are hesitant to speak up about issues but a well-worded “letter to the editor” of your local newspaper can go a long way to raising awareness. Homelessness and hunger are on the rise, and those who suffer them are often voiceless. We can lift our voices on their behalf. Suggest ways that your community can come together around these issues, or at least open a discussion and acknowledge that homelessness exists. Help your older students write such a letter – it’s an excellent exercise in the persuasive essay.
#2 As a creative artist, I think a lot about the different ways we can be creative and also be generous to others. Here are a couple of things you or your kids could do, depending on your skills and interests:
- Knit hats or socks or scarves (scarves are super easy to knit) for warming shelters. Last year I noticed that a lot of knitters had left hats in places like the public library for anyone who needed one to pick up.
- Create a work of art, write a song, choreograph a dance that encompasses the notion of community. Share with your class.
- Create “Blessing Bags” with your church or other group and have kids donate them to a warming center.
#3 Children learn by example, and donating either goods or time to a food bank is an excellent way to model generosity. Many food banks run drives at this time of year. Get kids involved in collecting and distributing.
And Around the Thanksgiving Table…
Finally, open conversation at the Thanksgiving table by not only giving thanks for those things that we are blessed to have, but also by taking a moment to recognize that others might not be so lucky. Ask, what can we do to help?
Let’s make 2022 the World Kindness Year.
Please share your ideas for giving back, and/or fostering compassion and kindness. With my deepest thanks to all of you, my readers and followers.