November marks the beginning of a very busy season in New Orleans: Saints games intensify, the holidays are rolling in, and the weather is changing. This month gives us the chance to reflect on being thankful, celebrate veterans, and even participate in #campshirtday. But one of the best days this month is World Kindness Day -- a day to promote being kind, to share random acts of kindness, and to educate those around us about the positive effects of kindness on our whole world.
Here at the JCC, we value kindness more than anything else. For the past two summers, our summer campers have organized and led a Kindness March during the first week of camp. They continue to teach and show kindness throughout all of their JCC experiences. Our nursery school teachers emphasize that kindness should be a top priority in their classrooms and the lives of their students. And this month, JCC students are learning the Hebrew word for kindness, chesed, and how to use it everyday.
The concept tikkun olam means to repair the world; JCC campers and students learn that this means we have a responsibility to ourselves, others, and the world around us. One of the best ways to live tikkun olam is to practice kindness -- to yourself, to everyone around you, and to the greater world (including taking care of the environment!). Everywhere you look at the JCC, our staff and members are spreading kindness.
So how can you promote and share kindness with your family? Here are some ideas:
Make a Kindness Jar
Dr. Ritchie Davidson of the University of Wisconsin said that learning to be kind is “like weight training, we found that people can actually build up their compassion ‘muscle’ and respond to others’ suffering with care and a desire to help.” You can build up your kindness muscles with your family by making a Kindness Jar! Click here to read more about it.
Leave Random Notes of Kindness
Another amazing act of kindness that your family can participate in is to write inspiring notes and leave them around for people to find. Leave them on the bench at the park, on the windshield of someone’s car, or on the mirror in a bathroom. Your kind notes are sure to bring a smile to someone’s face!
Be a Role Model
Lastly, the best way to spread kindness and to be a role model for the children in your life is to give genuine compliments to the people around you. Say thank you to the helpers in your life. Tell people that you love them. Tell your children you are proud of them. And, offer up compliments to others whenever they make you happy or help you in some way. Kindness is of incomparable importance in our world, so spread it everywhere you go!