It's a new year. Following in the tradition of the ancient Babylonians and Romans, it is time to make those pesky resolutions. What will you resolve to improve this coming year? Research by Richard Weisman on Quirkology has shown that the failure rate is 88%. However, when men set small goals such as losing 10 pounds a week, and when women shared their resolutions with their friends, the success rates increased 22% for men and 10% for women.
To increase success Weisman goes on to suggest that we make only 1 resolution, and that we be specific and not choose one we have made before and failed to keep. Here is a suggested resolution for your and your children to consider that will help make the world a more peaceful place and has a good chance of success.
Resolve to do something kind for someone every day
Here are two books to inspire you.
The first is Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Day by Emily Pearson. This story starts with a young girl picking blueberries and secretly giving them to a neighbor. The berries make the neighbor happy so she makes a pie and secretly leaves pieces for 5 people. These 5 people are so grateful that they each do something to help someone else and so Mary's little kindness spreads exponentially (Yes, there is a bit a math in here).
The second book is more serious. Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson tells the story of another young girl Chloe who sits next to the new girl in her class but never does anything kind for her because she is different and poor. One day their teacher has them drop a pebble in a bowl and explains that kindness spreads like ripples on water. Chloe realizes that she has never been kind to Maya. But it is too late to be kind. Maya has moved away.
"That afternoon," Chloe says in the story, "I walked home alone. When I reached the pond my throat filled with all the things I wished I'd said to Maya. Each kindness I had never shown. I threw small stones into it, over and over. Watching the way the water rippled out and away. Out and away. Like each kindness--done and not done. Like every girl somewhere--holding a small gift out to someone and that someone turning away from it."
To help you and your children set goals and keep your resolve, start a kindness journal or calendar today and record your kind deeds daily. Teachers can create a kindness wall or graph that is revisited every morning meeting. Share your plan with other teachers, parents and students you know and get them to join you too.
What will be your first kind action? Who will you be kind to?
We offer books, activities, lesson plans, and ideas that teachers, parents, and students can use to promote values, attitudes and behaviors which encourage non-violent resolution of conflict, respect for human rights, democracy, intercultural understanding and tolerance.