21 Days Kindness Challenge - A Student's Reflection.
Posted by sunita Lama on Apr 30, 2018
Deeply moved by Nipun’s talk in December, on students as leaders of change, Maria, a final year student initiated the 21 Days Kindness Challenge for senior school -- with the hope of cultivating a spirit of community. The student council and staff were in full support to experiment and make the learning environment positive, congenial and a ‘happy’ one. Below is her reflection of the experience.
As an introduction to this initiative, the students listened to a talk by a guest speaker who was invited by the student council. She gave an inspiring talk on the power of sharing and had most of the students spontaneously do acts of kindness as soon as she left.
Here’s a clip of the note I sent her at the end of the day as an update.
The challenge was spread across three weeks and there were three main activities:
The Kindness Board.
A Small Step.
A Debate .
For the first week, the student council board was transformed into a ‘Make Someone Smile’ wall and this was the most popular of all activities. It was filled with heartwarming messages written by both students and teachers. Not only were inspiring messages shared, students were also seen practicing them.
In the second week, we started with an activity called, ‘A Small Step’. This week students were encouraged to carry out small acts of kindness which were as simple as expressing gratitude by saying, ‘thank you’, giving compliments to friends and strangers ( students from another level, grade, support staff …), holding the door, queuing and taking turns, greeting everyone and offering to help . These little gestures brought so much ease, happiness and care. Everyone had beaming smiles and the school became one big family of love and concern. Doing this activity made me realize the big impact of small acts. It also built self-esteem and confidence.
Finally, in week three a debate was organized on the topic, ‘It is impossible to be kind without being selfish. The discussion was lively, entertaining and insightful. The winning team was definitely the one that spoke against the topic. We all agree that kindness is and can be selfless.
Along with the activities, ‘Smile Cards’ were secretly left on students’ desks, bags and books encouraging a pay it forward act of kindness. With this the senior school was abuzz with good acts. It was such a warming experience to see the joy anonymous acts of kindness brought. The receivers couldn't stop smiling and talking about it.
The smile cards were a gift from Mr. Nipun who is the main inspiration behind this initiative and to whom I’m greatly thankful. The note below is what I shared with Mrs. Sunita after giving away my final smile card.
In addition, a box was kept in the hallway for students to drop names of those they thought were exceptionally kind. At the end of the challenge, 12 chits were picked at random and these students were recognized for taking the leap.
The challenge was beneficial in so many ways. First of all, it has transformed the environment and brought out innate goodness in all of us. It has helped release stress and pressure of student life. It has boosted our confidence and self-esteem. We are one big family believing and supporting each other. It has added value and purpose to our otherwise routined life. I now look at each day as a gift and share it with everyone.
I’ve also listed feedback from some students.
‘The idea was innovative and thought-provoking. The event encouraged a friendlier school environment and gave us an insight on how being kind is important in our society.’ - Student, Year 9
‘It helped me realize the significance of making someone’s day with a simple kind message.’ - Student, Year 11
‘I felt this challenge helped bring out better version of the students.' - Student, Year 9.
For greater impact, one of the suggestion was to involve the entire school community by planning activities for students of all age groups. Another feedback was to display ‘Kindness Walls’ in a more visible and accessible area.
This initiative received great support and was a beautiful experience for the entire school. It reminded us that kindness is a gift everyone can afford.