This week, our whole school community learnt about kindness. But, we really learnt..we learnt how we really can impact people’s lives with small acts of kindness, how kindness ripples, and the more we do for people, the more they will do for others.
So, this is the story.
In school we talk a lot about Random Acts of Kindness – or ARKs- Acts of Random Kindness, however you know them by. At the start of this term, as staff we had Will Hussey, from the Art of Brilliance come in to talk about positive mindsets and the 2% mentality. On the second day, we had Mark Russell, also from the Art of Brilliance, in to talk to the children. Before he left, he set them a Random Acts of Kindness challenge to see who could perform one every day. He would return in three weeks time to hand out prizes to those who shone above and beyond.
During those three weeks, we continued to talk about ARKs and in collective worship, I showed videos highlighting the impact that these little acts of kindness can have. I talked about them, the children and staff listened, but I didn’t feel the ‘buzz’ that it should bring. You know, that feeling in school, that something new is taking hold and everyone is talking about it? Well, it just wasn’t there…
Then a couple of weeks ago, I had a parent stop me to ask if I’d seen the YouTube video of the twins who film their experience of randomly handing out presents to people on the street. She sent me the link and had written….”let’s make this work!” I instantly replied, “Yes, let’s do this!” And so it began….
We randomly selected two pupils from year 5 and two pupils from year 6. With bouquets and book tokens in our hands, the pupils, the mum with the initial idea, and teaching assistant (who later created our amazing movie) set out in the minibus to randomly choose the recipients of our presents. The experience was amazing, for us as adults and for the children. To see what happened you can go to our school website and watch it under the most recent headteacher’s blog.
We showed this video to the whole school on Friday afternoon. People were in tears and when it finished everyone gave an enormous round of applause. You could finally feel the impact…the idea was finally taking root.
But, what I really want to get to is the response from our recipients. I had tweets of thanks, e-mails and letters from family members of the chosen as well as from them, themselves.
To finish on Friday, I read this handwritten letter…..my voice wavering and my eyes misting over…
Dear Mrs Barton and Children,
I had the most wonderful and totally unexpected experience today when I became the recipient of your experiment, “Random Acts of Kindness.” I must thank you, the staff and children of your school for this day. I was helping my daughter and my two grandchildren with a few tasks and we were just returning to the car park when we met.
Since returning home, I have thought about kindness. I do consider myself a kind person, but his has made me realise that I could do more and I will. In the hustle and bustle of life, it is perhaps too easy to overlook such acts beyond the immediate family. I shall remember this act of kindness always as one of those unexpected, yet treasured moments. I am an avid reader, but I think I shall choose a special book and annotate it to consolidate this memory.
For you, A and E, I hope that you gained something as well. The pleasure of being kind, seeing another person’s happiness allows us to touch lives. Your school is obviously wonderful! I’m sure that academic standards are high and that you all work very hard. However, there is more to live than tables and spellings and I am sure that happiness is the most important.
Thank you, Mrs Barton and all your staff for facilitating this. Your girls have set a fine example and, as a family we will double our efforts to achieve your standard!
May I wish you all success in your studies and great happiness in your lives.
With great appreciation,
You could hear a pin drop…
This is what it is all about. We made an impact…our experiment worked and now we are planning our next Random Acts of Kindness. We have already talked about how we can make this a termly event. So, for the answer to the question that has been thrown around lately…yes, you can teach happiness.
Kindness matters and it does make a difference.
Go spread ripples of happiness and watch the effect it has…