I recently came across a quote that resonated with me: “Whenever there is a human in need, there is an opportunity for kindness and to make a difference.” (Kevin Heath, CEO, More4Kids.) I keep thinking of past personal and professional experiences where kindness made a difference to me and where I witnessed kindness to others. Here’s what I know- Kindness counts and it makes a difference. We may never see the impact of our actions- but they do and can make a difference to others.
Research shows that when peers intervene in bullying behavior incidents, they can often stop the behavior. Not every kid can do that- take that social risk and intervene on the spot. But here’s something that every kid can do: stand next to a target and offer a reassuring smile. Even if a kid approaches the target after the incident is over and offers solace, “I saw what happened to you and it isn’t right. I will go with you to tell an adult.”
“Come eat lunch with me tomorrow,” or “I will sit with you on the bus.” Statements and gestures like this do make a difference. I know it sounds simplistic but I have heard from kids that I work with. Think of the kid who walks through the hall with their head down and avoids eye connect. Well, what if a peer smiled in his direction? The bottom line is we can never underestimate the power of kindness. It is a way to connect with others.
I’d like to refer to another quote that I heard. This one is not from a CEO, but from a Long Island High School student who said, “It starts with you. You do have the power to influence your peers. Because when students take control, everyone notices. You can make a change.” Not a CEO, but in my opinion, just as wise.
So, that’s why kindness counts. Check out www.randomactsofkindness.org to see how your school can participate in Random Acts of Kindness Week.
Kara Santucci, MS, CAPS Bullying Prevention Specialist