Last week I received an email from reader Amy with a story that touched my heart! You guys are going to love this one.
I had a nice experience that I wanted to share. I've been growing increasingly aware of the self-centeredness of my pre-teen daughter. She's a good kid but it seems she's following the groove of society and has started to turn more inwards and is settling on her own needs and feelings instead of thinking more about others. I'm not complaining here, just trying to set the stage and give a little more of the back story.
Wanting to give her the opportunity to turn outward and do something nice we set up an after school PAK (planned act of kindness). She invited several of her friends over and we spent the afternoon making Hershey Kiss Rose bouquets that could be left, anonymously, for workers at their school.
As the girls gathered in my home, I introduced the idea of an act of kindness and giving without getting and then turned them loose hoping they'd stick with it to make at least 12 bouquets. What happened instead was pretty amazing. These girls took the idea and ran with it. They starting working in assembly line fashion all on their own. Some were in charge of flowers. A few wrapped them in tissue paper and the others made the cards. The whole time chattering with excitement about who they were going to leave them for. In the end they made 25 bouquets and would have happily made more had time allowed.
When the bouquets were done, it was time to deliver them. I had made arrangements with one of the night janitors to let us into the school after the teachers had all left. So, with much excitement and giggling, the girls snuck around their school and left their treats. With each bouquet they left a tag saying "thank you" or "have a nice day" and they signed them "The 7 Secret Sixth graders".
Several good things came out of this activity. The girls got to experience first hand what it felt like to do something nice without expecting anything in return. They were focused on making someone else's day instead of worrying about themselves. And, the teachers and workers at the school arrived to find that someone cared and was thankful for the work they were doing. But the best part for me was what happened with the janitor.
I know this man, he is a very kind, quiet man. He goes into work just prior to when the kids leave so he doesn't interact with them, nor do they really know who he is. He said usually the kids will pass not even noticing him. However, when we delivered the bouquets, we also gave him some cookies and the girls made him a card to personally thank him for letting them into the school. Since that day, when the girls pass him, they will call him by name and say "hi Mr. so-and-so." He said being called by name is something that never happened before and has been meaningful to him.
Overall it was a great thing for the girls to do. They really ran with the idea and much to my surprise the girls want to get together again and do another planned act of kindness. We just might start a PAK club.
Amy is an amazing mom, don't you think? She realizes the importance of teaching kindness, and it looks like her compassion has worn off on her daughter and her daughter's friends. Great job, Amy! My husband, who teaches 7th grade, can attest to the fact that kindness doesn't run rampant amongst his students. Every bit of encouragement to be nicer makes a huge difference, especially at such an impressionable age. When I was 13, I joined a quilting group at school where we made small quilts for babies in the local hospitals. I'll never forget the joy and excitement I felt each time I finished a quilt.
You know what would be awesome?? If the idea of a PAK club caught on and spread around the globe!
Do you have a NICE:Testimonial that you'd like to share? If so, click here to send me an email!