World Kindness Day is November 13. I'll be honest, I'd never heard of it before seeing it mentioned on Facebook today, but it's been a project of the World Kindness Movement that started in Japan in the late 1990s and is now observed around the world.
Upon learning about World Kindness Day, I thought of the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio, which made a big impact on my tween with its message to Choose Kind. Today seems like the perfect day to pick up that book, either again or for the first time.
Palacio calls her book, which tells the story of a fifth grader with a craniofacial different, a "meditation on kindness" and she said she wanted to impress upon her readers the power of words.
"Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see." - Mark Twain
When Palacio spoke in our community earlier this year, she first told kids, "You all have the power to change lives. Remember the power of words, and think about how you want to be remembered."
She then focused on the parents and said, "I hope parents take heed and do more interfering in their kids’ lives."
So today, on World Kindness Day, ask your tweens about acts of kindness they committed or witnessed today, and ideas for those they can do in the future.
"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." - Aesop
If your tween doesn't have any ideas, check out this list of kindness ideas from the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. I love that the list has lots of simple acts that do not take much time, like holding the door for someone, thanking a coach or introducing yourself to a classmate you don't know.
Tie in kindness with gratitude this Thanksgiving season and resolve with your tween to write some letters of thanks and gratitude to people who have made a difference in your lives.
Also ask your kid how he/she feels when being kind. It is not surprising that person doing something kind benefits as well.
Tweens often feel like their life is hard. Really, really hard. And it may well be. No one said junior high is easy, but remind them that everyone has issues.
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. - Plato
Remind tweens that making doing something good for others is a great way to make themselves feel better.
Research from the University of California, Riverside showed tweens ages 9-11 who performed acts of kindness towards others were happier and also tended to be the students with whom their classmates wanted to spend time. (Some use the term "popularity" but that's just a tricky one with tweens, and telling kids to do something to be popular just doesn't seem to be the way to go.)
"Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.” - Booker T. Washington
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