Coloring the World with Kindness

by Barbara Gruener 

While researching for the keynote address I gave recently at the National Forum on Character Education, “Kindness Is the Real Global Warming,” I came across too many inspirational quotes-made-into-posters to count. But this one about throwing kindness around like confetti really stuck with me.

confettiquoteImagine with me a world so colored by kindness it resembles little pieces of confetti flying all over. Every day. The sparkly kind that officials shoot off after something big, like the NFL Super Bowl. Lots and lots of it. Millions of little pieces. In every nook and cranny. Colorful, glittery pieces. Everywhere. And not just random, either. Planned. Intentional, even. Only this isn’t the kind of confetti that you need to clean up, because its recipients take it with them and are moved to act in kind. It would be like giving a dose of vitamin B12 to energize the masses and keep people going and going. 
 
Now, let’s stop imagining and get moving. We can crusade for a world so colored by kindness, service, and care that it’s blinding. Let’s get started right away; it’s okay to start small. Acts of kindness don’t have to be great to be grand. Try one or all of these fabulous fifteen free-or-almost-free ideas: 

  1. Smile at someone. 
  2. Hold the door open for someone. 
  3. Give someone a helping hand. 
  4. Leave a close parking spot for someone who needs it more. 
  5. Send someone an uplifting song.
  6. Leave a note of encouragement in a library book. 
  7. Donate a gently used item that you no longer use. 
  8. Volunteer an hour a week to mentor or tutor someone. 
  9. Visit someone who’s shut-in or homebound. 
  10. Send a kind text. 
  11. Offer someone a ride. 
  12. Get a bouquet of roses and hand them out one by one.
  13. Send a note of cheer to someone who’s down. 
  14. Leave a note of affirmation on someone’s windshield.
  15. Bake something yummy and share.

Aviator Amelia Earhart once said, “A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make a new tree.” Yes, roots of kindness, that’s what I’m talking about. A big, hearty, far-reaching tree. Acts of kindness branch out like that, leaving both the giver and the recipient with a feel-good warmth that will easily spread. They spark chemicals in the brain (like oxytocin and serotonin) that leave the giver with a helper’s high. And they follow the law of attraction; what goes around comes around. Try it and see. Throw kindness like confetti and experience kindness when it finds its way back to you, maybe even when you least expect it.
 
Want to start a Kindness Campaign but you’re not sure how? Check out these amazing resources:
 
Great Kindness Challenge Week logoKids for Peace is hosting The Great Kindness Challenge this week, January 26-30, 2015. Signing up is easy and free, and you’ll receive a download with 50 ways to throw kindness confetti in your school or organization. A great resource well beyond Great Kindness Challenge week!
 
Visit the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation for more kindness ideas.
 
Check out Mariëlle’s Magical Daydream blog for creative kindness ideas.
 
Create a ripple effect with kindness cards at the Ripple Kindness Project.
 
Follow this collaborative Kindness Pinterest board
 
Visit me at the Corner on Character.
 
Get out your confetti; happy coloring!

How do you inspire kindness in your students?

gruener2013Barbara Gruener, a thirty-year veteran educator, serves as a school counselor and character coach at Westwood-Bales Elementary, a National School of Character. She is the author of the Ferne Press new release What’s Under Your Cape? SUPERHEROES of the Character Kind and enjoys influencing others through her inspirational keynotes and interactive workshops. Barbara lives in Texas with her husband and their three children.


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