Kindness can be like a rock in water. One good deed can ripple outward to distant shores.
Phillip C. Showell Elementary School celebrated January as Kindness Month by encouraging children to be kind and witness kindness in their lives.
With handmade Kindness Bracelets, students can now count and remember random acts of kindness each day.
“As they witness, give or receive an act of kindness through the day, they’ll move a charm,” said Laurie Hall, teacher of art and special education at the school. Hopefully, later, at home, “they talk about what they’ve done to move them.”
The bracelets are threaded so that people can slide the 10 beads deliberately, without them slipping backward again.
Hall said she sees kindness as a way to improve children’s overall lives.
“I feel that’s the backbone of everything. In order to have a good day, it takes a village. If we can all be kind, it’s going to waterfall into their academic day — hopefully, into the home,” Hall said.
It’s a good habit to form, she said, and the more people practice, the better they’ll get.
Looking at her own bracelet, Hall said, “I have four moved already. The first one was something I did” — picking up somebody’s dropped bag. She leafed through her memory for other acts of kindness she had seen, by students, teachers and in her own classroom five minutes earlier.
The PCS winter Spirit Week also included kindness, and students can win “Kind Bucks” if they’re caught being good. The teaching staff also made a bulletin board-sized Kindness Bracelet, with a goal to move 25 beads each day.
Different age groups of students also had related art projects. Second-graders brainstormed words of kindness (“smile, help, share, play, compliments”) then wrote those reminders on paper hearts.
Fourth-graders demonstrated the way to use a “Buddy Bench.” Anyone who feels sad or lonely can sit on the bench at recess. That’s a signal for other children to be friendly and join in.
“A Buddy Bench says … ‘I need someone to be kind,’” Carey told the kids. “When we share kindness, the other person feels encouraged, the other person feels better.”
Hall’s mission for kindness was inspired by a Salisbury, Md., woman who started the Kindness Bracelet movement. Grace Foxwell Murdock started the concept after the Sand Hook Elementary shootings in 2013. She wanted to help renew people’s sense of hope by counting those little acts of kindness that add up over the course of a day.
Murdock has used Kindness Bracelet profits to purchase Buddy Benches for schools on the Eastern Shore.
Kindness Bracelet is online at www.kindnessbracelet.com.