A book. One single book. Many people don’t realize how important having one book can be in the life of a child. But believe me, just one book can mean the world. I know this because I have seen the joyous expressions on children’s faces as they receive a book to keep. read more →

Launched on 15 July 2016, it’s been an exciting time as Nourish Network finds its feet and place in the local community.

Nourish is a volunteer-based, holistic outreach program developed to educate, empower and support parents and guardians finding it difficult to provide for their families.

Working with local schools in the Yarra Ranges (outer east of Melbourne), families are selected based on circumstances and their willingness to participate and eventually give back to their community.

A member-only program, Nourish partners with SecondBite and local businesses and organizations to provide a weekly allocation of fruit, vegetables, bread, eggs, recipes and nutritional information, wellbeing resources, friendship, and support.

As well as providing nourishment for their bodies, we also aim to help heal their souls by providing a place for respite where people can connect with others in similar situations and enjoy a variety of activities and therapies.

We used 2016 as a pilot year with a small group to gain insight into the social, emotional and financial struggles our members face so we are better able to provide for their needs. read more →

Most people regard attitude as something that can be developed or studied. It’s subject to control.

It’s not uncommon to hear someone say they’re “working on” or “maintaining” their positive attitude. We treat attitudes like muscles that benefit from exercise. Whether we hit the gym frequently, or avoid it altogether, we invariably hold ourselves accountable for the condition of our attitudes. The couch potato has only herself to blame for her bad attitude. The diligent weightlifter can praise himself for the strength of his. read more →

The business world usually gets described as competitive, cutthroat, or aggressive. You’re obliged to be a “growth hacker” who “contributes to the bottom line” and is considered “higher-performing than their peers” at the annual review. I had been in the high-stress corporate world at Microsoft where stack-ranking ruled twice a year.

Employees almost universally breathed a sigh of relief when Microsoft announced in 2013 that they were doing away with stack rankings. I was all for a more collaborative workplace with team efforts and common goals. The only thing they got rid of in my department was the term “stack ranking.” Twice a year, you were still compared to your peers. Promotions, raises, and bonuses were still individually-assigned based on how you performed compared to others in your level-band.

Being kind is the most important thing I’ve ever been taught. That’s what my parents always told me – more important than ambition or success is being kind to people. The cornerstone of my life. What I aspire to is to be kind. – Rafe Spall

I chose to leave this high-stress world and take a lower-paying but much more satisfying job elsewhere.

I’m now a digital analyst at the hotel web design company. We’ve a very different, very collaborative approach. At my new workplace, we try to have the worldview of “The Kindest Possible Interpretation” of the motives behind our coworkers’ and clients’ actions. This philosophical approach is absolutely necessary for our office as a distributed workplace (we all work from home/remote offices). So much of our interactions occur via email, in online chat, or over Skype.

As humans, we’re natural storytellers and often project reasons on why something did/did not happen. That can be great if you’re reading a novel or watching a film, but it can also be destructive.
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When people, especially strangers, go out of their way to do a good deed for us, it touches our heart. My children and I were sitting in a doctor’s office recently and I was blown away by the kindness of a young boy sitting next to us. He heard me telling my daughter to stop putting her dirty hands in her mouth after she was playing on the floor. This six-year-old boy came over and offered my daughter hand sanitizer. This simple act of kindness and sharing was a moment to cherish that day amongst the stress of a long wait in a loud, crowded waiting room.

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As the founder of Ripple Kindness Project, I’m keen to be actively involved in caring for my local community, so I’m a member of several committees designed to help improve lives or offer support to people who are struggling financially or emotionally. I’m also part of the “chaplaincy” or student well-being committee at my boy’s primary school (though they are both now in secondary) which has given me great insights into the daily struggles some families face.

Though Ripple has helped some school families at Christmas in the past, this year, I decided to put the word out to the community to widen the ripple and make it a much happier time for as many as possible.

The aim was to support the school Chaplain by providing gifts for his most vulnerable families and also help some friends who work with people experiencing homelessness or are at risk of ending up on the street by providing backpacks filled with essentials and Christmas treats. read more →

Images of gifts to make with wording: Fun and easy kindness activities to thank someone and show you care.

There are so many wonderful people in our communities who go out of their way and even risk their lives for us every single day. Often these people go about their jobs without ever really being thanked for the extraordinary things they do.

Here are some fun ways to show community workers how much they really are appreciated or to show your support for someone who may need a little encouragement.

Law Enforcement or Fire Fighters

Orange-county-sherrif's-dept1 read more →

World Kindness Day is a celebration of what most people consider our species’ best set of qualities: compassion, consideration for others, respect and generosity.

Kindness shouldn’t be limited to any particular gender, race, age group or even species. In fact, showing kindness and compassion to the most vulnerable of our fellow earthlings (i.e. other animals, particularly under human care) is often seen as the most telling sign of a person’s capacity for the traits we hold most sacred. As Gandhi famously said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

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Love of the Elderly
Image supplied by Love for the Elderly.

 

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In the book, Wonder by R.J. Palacio, she writes about Choosing Kind as the best option in life. This phrase resonated with me and sparked a new appreciation on how I discuss bullying with my 6th graders.

I then came across an article on the Edutopia website titled, “Why Teaching Kindness in Schools is Essential to Reduce Bullying” and knew this was the right angle to take with my incoming 6th graders. They have all heard the lectures about how bullying is wrong. I wanted to attack bullying from a different point of view. After reading the Edutopia article, I decided to teach kindness. What does it truly mean? I wanted my students to reflect on the meaning of kindness. I wanted them to pay it forward and start applying kindness to their peers at school.

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Gratitude … goes beyond the “mine” and “thine” and claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past, I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.

– Henri J. M. Nouwen

Several years ago I had the opportunity to attend an education conference in San Francisco, CA. While I was there, I learned many exciting findings from the “science of happiness.” That weekend revolutionized my perspectives related to teaching and parenting. Since then I have been on a quest to create a happier classroom and to help other teachers do the same thing.

One lesson I learned at the conference pertains to the relationship between happiness and success. As recent research has shown, success does not always lead to happiness. Many of us know this from experience. For example, landing a highly coveted job and buying your dream home may not necessarily result in a blissful state. On the other hand, people who are happy tend to find success in school, at work, and in every domain in life. read more →

Some children spend more of their time awake at school than they do in their own homes. That’s a big thing when you’re still growing and learning. It’s a big thing too for parents to entrust their precious ones to others, sometimes strangers, during these vital years. Especially as much of a child’s developing personality and morals can be so easily influenced by those around them.

During the early years of my own children’s education, I worried about the role models they would encounter at school. It concerned me that my hard work instilling good values may be lost if character education wasn’t a priority in the classroom.

Fortunately, these days, educators are more aware of the need to prioritize social and emotional learning at school. They realize the important role that kindness and empathy have in nurturing happiness and self-esteem.

“It’s no secret that kindness sparks kindness. The secret is that kindness takes wings when it is modeled and taught with passion and purpose. When we intentionally help and encourage our students to put kindness into action through their thoughts, words, and deeds, then the world will truly be a gentler, more peaceful place. Simply put, we’ll be better.

Girls holding handsKindness in schools can look like a smile, feel like a hug, sound like a sweet greeting or a sincere compliment. A genuine inquiry about how someone is doing can mean so much. And when we have created that climate of kindness and caring inside our school walls, the natural next step is to take it home to our families, out into our community and then beyond our borders into our global world. And when kindness ripples, prepare to bathe in a tsunami of goodness.”

Barbara Gruener, Counsellor, Westwood-Bales Elementary, Friendswood, Texas, USA read more →