By Andy Zimmer, Middle School Director
In recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as well as a celebration of national No Name-Calling Week, our Middle School devoted several days to recognizing kindness in our community. The idea spawned out of a desire to not celebrate “not calling names” – something we should all strive for anyway, but to celebrate the small (or large) acts of kindness that our students demonstrate on a daily basis.
For recognition, we decided to use the “brick” below and work together to construct a “pillar of kindness” on the one vertical pole we have in the school. Having read “Wonder” by RJ Palaccio as an entire school over the summer, we chose to use the “Choose Kind” message (which we introduced at the beginning of the year in advisories) on the bricks.
Students, teachers, and family members all submitted bricks throughout the week. As new bricks were posted on the pillar, it was remarkable how this movement took shape. More and more students were seen huddled around the pillar – eager to find their names and feel proud for being recognized for kind acts or to show others that they had been recognzied. One may think that students were now actively doing kind deeds simply for recognition; however, that was not the case. Students began recognizing teachers for their continued efforts in class; teachers began recognizing students for holding doors, being kind to themselves, and helping with small tasks around the school. The power of publicly recognizing members of our community for kindness grew and grew.
This visible symbol of the kindness serves to remind our students, as well as show our visitors the power of a collective push to be kind to one another. Our mission to promote responsibility for one’s self and others is alive and well within our community and has been exemplified by this initiative.
In what ways have you demonstrated kindness today? As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the moment we are silent about things that matter.” Kindness matters.