Acts of kindness make the world a better place for everyone. Good deeds can promote mental health and wellness, boost feelings of happiness, and contribute to a more positive community. Kindness takes courage because it requires empathy, purpose, and commitment. People feel valued when their actions and contributions are noticed and appreciated. That’s why when we recognize the kindness that others show, we also reinforce their decision to act with intention. There is power in kindness. A small gesture can cause a ripple effect that may impact an entire community. When someone is kind to us, we often “pay it forward”. This can start a chain reaction – a wave of kindness that keeps rolling. One act of kindness can make a big difference.
In today’s Wellness Wednesday, we notice acts of kindness.
As a class, group, or family:
· Together, talk about why we should be kind people.
o Why are acts of kindness important? (i.e., supports positive well-being, builds relationships and community, encourages more kindness, makes people feel like they matter and are important, etc.)
o What do acts of kindness look like? (i.e., saying something nice to a peer, making a new friend, sitting with someone who is alone, helping at home, letting others go first, etc.)
o What acts of kindness are demonstrated in Scripture? (i.e., The Good Samaritan Luke 10:25-37, The Prodigal Son Luke 15:11-32, David, Abigail and Nabal 1 – Samuel 25:2-42)
· Next, start a kindness jar. For this activity, you will need a container (i.e., box, jar, bin with a lid, etc.) and some small items (i.e., beans, uncooked pasta, buttons, etc.).
· When someone sees an act of kindness, they will put a bean in the jar. Tell each other when you notice an act of kindness. Share examples of when you are kind to others or when others are kind to you.
· Check in on the progress often. Reflect together about how it feels to contribute toward a common goal and to recognize/acknowledge the kind behaviour of others.
NOTE: adapted from SMHO’s “Pay it Forward” activity https://smho-smso.ca/fw/healthy-relationship-skills/acts-of-kindness/pay-it-forward/ and “Kindness Jar” activity in the classroom: https://smho-smso.ca/fw/healthy-relationship-skills/acts-of-kindness/kindness-jar/ and at home (7th activity in “Easy and Fun Mental Health Activities for Home”) https://smho-smso.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/EDMH-ParentActivities-FINAL-EN.pdf.\
Ask yourself, there is no wrong answer:
How could my act of kindness change someone else’s day?
How could an act of kindness change my day?
How can I show more kindness at home, at school, in the community?
Connecting to our faith:
“Whatever we do, let us sustain the voice of the Holy Spirit through practical good deeds and actions.” (Pope Francis)
The Catechism of the Catholic Church lists KINDNESS as one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. “The fruits of the Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. The tradition of the Church lists twelve of them: “charity, joy, peace, patience, KINDNESS, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity” (CCC 1832).
CHILDREN’S BOOK: “Kindness Starts With You” by Jacquelyn Stagg
CHILDREN’S BOOK: “What’s It Mean To Be Kind” by Rana DiOrio
TEACHER BLOG: Tips For Teaching Kindness In The Classroom www.pbs.org/education/blog/9-tips-for-teaching-kindness-in-the-classroom
EDUCATOR RESOURCE: Acts of Kindness activities (elementary) https://smho-smso.ca/fw/healthy-relationship-skills/acts-of-kindness/ (secondary) https://smho-smso.ca/fwsecondary/healthy-relationship-skills/acts-of-kindness/
RESEARCH STUDY: www.goodnewsnetwork.org/small-acts-of-kindness-make-happier-students-ubc/