Kindness Ripples

Today I'm thinking about kindness ... and ripples.

As I was walking this morning, I was pondering what empathy and kindness actually have to do with one another, and I was reminded of Sam. I had the pleasure of meeting Sam, a kindhearted custodian from the Show-Me State, during a National School of Character site visit via Skype about five years ago, when I asked to visit with him about something I'd read in their NSOC application. You see, Sam has a tradition of going into the cafeteria and giving every child a hand-crafted card with a dollar in it on his/her birthday, a practice that had sparked something supersized at his school. 
Students told me that they cannot wait for their turn to turn a year older and receive their dollar from Sam. We're talking about a dollar, people ... but it's not the money at all, is it? Nope, it's the kindness that's wrapped up in that card and sealed in that envelope that is the much-anticipated treat for these birthday boys and girls. It's a big deal to get something special from their superhero Sam.

I imagine it goes like this:
Empathy - Sam figures it'd feel pretty good to get a homemade birthday card in the cafeteria on your special day.
Compassion - Sam thinks with his heart and cares enough to want to spread those feelings of positivity and joy while honoring his little friends with something special on their birthday.
Kindness - Sam gets a birthday list, starts making cards, saves enough money so he has a dollar to give to each child, and Sam makes it happen, one birthday at a time, all year long.

Just think about all the goodness that might happen as a result of Sam's kindness. I'm wondering if his parents know what a terrific job they did raising him ...

And wouldn't you know that it started with empathy, such a nice segue into the reminder that tomorrow our book study continues with Chapter 4 over at EduKate and Inspire. I can't wait to hear what Kate, a second-grade teacher who's also got a counseling degree, has to say about one of my favorite chapters.

Here are a few more resources I found 
on empathy and kindness this week:

Download the Ripil Kindness App {here}. From our friends at Pay It Forward, this free app lets you express your kindness and keep track of the good that it does.

Read advice from a Harvard psychologist about raising kind kids {here}.

Glean ideas on encouraging empathy from Melissa Harding {here}.

And see Sandra Smith's thoughts on Compassionate Kids {here}. 

How will you use kindness ripples to make a splash today?


1 comment

  1. Wow, your story about Sam gave me chills! What a simple gesture of kindness that I bet those students will remember forever! I am working on my post right now :) Empathy is one of my favorite character ed topics, so I was thrilled to pick this chapter!

    EduKate and Inspire


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