Last fall a 9-year-old Oregon boy named Ocean brought his inner peace and caring into the world this way…
Ocean was concerned about “bullying, arguments, and pushing” at his school. “They weren’t being nice to each other,” he said of his fellow third graders, and neither his peacemaking efforts nor the teacher’s interventions seemed to help. “Pretty soon, the kids would be right back to arguing and fighting.”
Frustrated, Ocean took the problem home, and thought about it. Finally, he came up with an idea: the Kindness Club.
Ocean wanted to make it easy for people to point out when someone wasn’t being kind. He’d also noticed that sometimes when you tell someone they aren’t being nice, they get defensive and keep arguing. So, he went online, ordered bracelets that said “Kindness Club,” and gave one to everyone in his class, including the teacher. Now, whenever kids see someone who isn’t being nice, they can tap their bracelets, a gentle reminder of a common goal.
Ocean’s teacher said it’s pretty typical for third graders to argue during recess – they’re at an age when they’re learning about how to have compassion for others, and “sportsmanship can be a tough lesson.” Noticing that this year there were lots of hurt feelings happening at recess, she spent a lot of time talking to the class about sportsmanship and being kind to one another, but the conflicts persisted. One day she was lecturing the class about getting along when Ocean raised his hand. He told the class about his idea for a kindness class. The kids talked about the idea, role-played different scenarios, and agreed to try the bracelets, which now serve as a constant reminder about their pact to be kind.
Ocean’s mom said her son is very caring, and that she’s proud of him for coming up with his own solutions. “It makes him happy to help others. If everybody really thought about being kind, it would change everything.”
Let’s follow Ocean’s example of coming up with ideas that will encourage the caring innate in each of us and help us solve problems together.