“Playing Fair – On Sportsmanship”
Think of it this way: Are you being a tattletale when you call the police to report a crime you are witnessing?
“Right Speech – Three Questions”
Several years ago, a student in one of my kindness classes shared her understanding of the Buddhist protocol known as “Right Speech.”
“Heart Truths & Head Truths”
Believing in Santa is a feeling thing, something completely human that taps into the profound. Again, this is something that’s true in our hearts, the same place our intuition resides.
“Patterns of Nature”
The intention in taking time to consider these opportunities later is to help you become more aware of them as they are happening.
“Three Steps to Move Someone You Love to Grateful Tears”
So take time to consider people in your life who have helped you. Maybe you could make a list of these benefactors and then carefully and mindfully choose one to be the recipient of your gratitude letter.
“People Feel at Home”
One way to gain equilibrium in our lives is to match the words we say with the thoughts we feel.
“Research Shows How We Can Achieve Peace on Earth”
The more kind acts we complete, the more we recognize opportunities to be kind. Doing so counterbalances our inherent negative bias and tips the scales toward the positive.
“Provide for Another Something You Want to Experience”
If you want world peace, providing a moment of peace for someone contributes to world peace.
“Do Something Kind For a Friend (in Need)”
Use your inner wisdom to determine what would be truly kind, making sure that what you choose to do resonates within you.
“Can Kindness Be Taught?”
Sometimes, when we let it happen, we can be privy to the most amazing of things. That was my fortune that day, hammered home when Johnny, in all of his dignified humility, said to me, “Thanks for driving us, Andy.”
“Days Brighten at Dawn”
What a wonderful thing it is to connect elders in a community to youth. I greatly appreciate what my friend has to say here, and hope her wisdom can inspire others.
“Speaking of Hope, Positivity & Creativity”
I hope you all are feeling healthy and doing your part to bring positivity to the spaces you inhabit. Every positive action contributes to the uplifting energy we all need, now more than ever.
“Thrive Through Exploring”
My graduate work is specific to human development and my personal interest is specific to what helps people thrive.
“On Anger & Self-Acceptance”
In an anger drill you are training your brain when you’re not angry, which is when it’s most receptive to learning, of course, to know how to not make behavior mistakes when you are angry.
“It’s Butterfly Awareness”
Like the butterfly effect, one small, kind act sets off a series of positive events. With this in mind, complete very, very small kind actions that do not require a lot of you. Think of these actions as being minor tune-ups on the engine of the universe.
“Be Awed By Life”
Allow yourself to be filled with awe and wonder, even at the simplest of things. In fact, be filled with awe and wonder at the MOST simplest of things.
“Positively Engaging in Life’s Changes Keeps You Vibrant”
On one hand, yes, it was certainly EMOTIONAL to close such an important chapter of our lives. But what I recognized is that while it was emotional, sad was not how I was feeling. I was actually excited to get started on the next phase of my life.
“In the Beginning, the World Was Made of Light”
So I would try to explain all this to the students and tell them that my belief is that each person is one piece of glass of a broken hologram, each of us containing the whole. Somehow, I felt, such an explanation not only was an honest answer to their question but left room for them to have their own interpretations, ideas, and beliefs.
Practically, kindness is a self-contained act in which the action or thought involved brings its own reward. There is no expectation for reciprocity; in fact, sometimes we worry that receiving something in response to a kind act diminishes our kindness.
“Treat Everyone with Compassion”
Taking this story to heart creates a new awareness for me. I have significant responsibility, as do we all, to treat ALL people with compassion, understanding, and empathy.
Like the children’s song “Magic Penny” that says when you give away love you end up having more, use this exercise to see how true sharing actually increases the amount of what’s most important.
“Our Souls Don’t Keep Time”
In each moment I am planting a tree. I may not ever sit directly under it to enjoy its shade, but someone else will.
“I Am Not Alone”
Ideally, getting together with someone is a win-win. Both people are a little less alone.
“Attend to Wonder”
Attending to wonder opens us to the marvels taking place around us all the time, thereby triggering a wider awareness of positive events. You’ll feel purposeful, connected, and engaged.
“A Positive Attitude Has a Way of Opening Doors”
In my work with children in over three decades as an educator, I often facilitate a leadership class that includes a lesson on the value of cultivating a positive attitude. I tell my students that they create the quality of their teachers.
“Who Are You Constantly?”
If we as adults rationalize playing fair when it serves us, it goes to follow that we aren’t too good about helping children understand it.
“Feel Grateful For the Little Things”
We think, especially when we’re young, that happiness comes from “big” things. We realize as we age that small pleasures are what provide longstanding happiness.
“May I Be Filled With Friendliness”
Imagine if everyone on your bus, in your school, around your city are all expressing friendliness to themselves and each other. That’s a pretty great place to live.
“Life is What Happens While You’re Busy Making Plans”
Interestingly, the more successful I am at appreciating each step of my day, the more moment-to-moment opportunities I recognize.
“Go On, Make the World a Kinder Place”
As you gain practice in completing acts of ordinary kindness, you may be surprised to see how many opportunities are being offered to us as humans to be kind and thoughtful.
“Considering The Golden Rule”
The logic and brilliance of this were immediately clear to me. As a parent, her philosophy is to provide what each of her children needs when they need it. To do otherwise creates competition and materialism. Treated this way, each of her children could relax, knowing that their needs would consistently be met.
“Compassion, Our Default Mode”
When we slow down, when we see others as fundamentally wanting the same things as we do, and when we approach a difference of opinion with curiosity, our heart rates and blood pressures go down, and our immune systems are activated.
“Four Simple Steps to Express Gratitude”
Slowing down to mindfully acknowledge and recognize our interconnectedness is a great way to understand that we aren’t isolated, that we are all playing on the same team.
“Do Something Kind for Yourself”
Paying attention to your internal processes and aligning with your own inner knowledge isn’t indulgent, although I acknowledge that it sometimes may look that way to others. The key is being honest with yourself.
“This Story Takes My Breath Away”
When we are in the same place we are conspiring, breathing together. But it’s even more than that. We are sharing air, me breathing in some of what you’ve exhaled and you breathing in some of what I’ve exhaled.
“Reassure Your Heart”
Guy encouraged me to not judge Luis solely by what I was seeing in the classroom, to keep an eye on him at the overnight. Guy knew that Luis’s greatest strengths, his leadership and athletic skill, were most on display outside. In helping me recognize these strengths in Luis, Guy hoped I would be more accepting of Luis in the classroom.
“Kindness is a Torch that Lights Our Paths”
Seen this way, kindness is both a means and an end. As a means, it takes you to a place where you consistently get to see the good in human beings. As an end, being kind immediately changes who you are.
“The Value of Doing Something Kind For Someone Who Has Helped Us”
If we move through life learning to open and close our circles with mindful awareness, we live happier, more fulfilled lives.
“Your Kind Smile Can Literally Change Someone’s Day”
Sometimes we think that to make a difference we have to do something big. But just the opposite is true.
“The Difference Between Plodding Along in Life or Moving Closer to Reaching Your Full Potential”
Stepping down from my job of 24 years in 2018 helped me consider the importance of this.
“What is the Meaning of Life?”
A couple of years ago, I was interviewed for an online publication. Interestingly, the interview consisted of one question and I was provided the opportunity to write my answer.
“Put On Your Own Air Mask Before Helping Others”
Taken care of from the inside, we are in a better position to be thoughtful and kind to others.
“Give Away Something That You Value”
I like to think I had an awareness of something that would be meaningful to the student all those years ago when I gave him that record album.
“Do Something Kind For a Friend (in Need)”
After a day or two (or three) of appreciating your friend, consider what kind thing you can do for them, noting that the purpose of this exercise is NOT to fill what you think is their need. The purpose is simply to do something kind.
When you work to reduce the isolation of another, you actually reduce your own isolation, as well.
“Mulling the Concepts of Mystery and Mastery”
When children feel the mystery inherent in everything, they will naturally want to achieve mastery. But to insist on mastery (and high stakes tests are this kind of insistence) means students will be robbed of mystery.
“Everyone Can Play”
What behavior can you begin or enhance that helps you adopt this attitude, creates a world in which everyone can play? A behavior that honors and celebrates our interconnectedness?
“Leaving the Light On”
Remember that old radio ad for Motel 6 from its spokesperson Tom Bodette? “We’ll leave the light on.” It means we know you’re coming and we’re expecting you.
There is a tradition in which people believe that when they go too fast, they cause their souls to be left behind. Believing this, they will sometimes purposefully stop in order to allow their souls to catch up.
“Consider Your Wake”
I am someone who believes that our individual power to have doors be open for us, individually and collectively, rests in how we behave, how we act, talk and think, in the present moment.
“Hearts Expand By Expressing Gratitude”
Expressing gratitude for our benefactors helps us close the “circle of the story” and feel a profound sense of satisfaction. In closing a circle left open, we are often excited to find we’ve opened a new one.
“It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”
Build that inner core and it starts to radiate love and kindness, our natural state of being, outwardly.
“Be The Daylight”
I encourage you to provide for another something you yourself wish to experience. For example, if you wish to heal your own sadness or anger, seek to heal the sadness or anger of another.
“Savor Positive Moments”
Take a deep breath and in your mind express gratitude for the moment you are having.
“You Have Been the Victim of a Random Act of Kindness”
The barista waved to us and we walked out, united in what felt to us was an act of superhero proportions. The elders seemed younger and the teens wiser. It wasn’t four teens, four elders, and me any more. It was nine people.
“Four Steps to Finding Happiness & Purpose”
Following these four steps, you’ll find you’re actually living the life you want to live now and not waiting for that future achievement to be reached.
“One Step to Reducing Stress”
Instead of feeling like a victim of circumstances, you start to feel like you are in control of situations. Instead of being the puppet, you become the puppeteer.
“The Importance of Virtue”
I believe that human beings are good, by nature, and that the role of education is to help children refine their inherent “goodness.” In doing that, and by providing a safe, loving, respectful environment for children to grow, we need not require academics and other subjects in school. In the right environment, those things truly valued in a culture will be naturally acquired by children as they grow.
“Peace on Earth, 2030”
I am of the mind that every time I choose a peaceful response over a violent one, even in my self-talk, I am acting globally by setting off a chain of peace that impacts everything. So in me being more peaceful, I will help create a reality that makes it easier for others to be more peaceful.
“There are People in the Country Besides Politicians”
I need to focus on seeing the positive and not getting overwhelmed by the negative. It means I need to contribute to positive things taking place, and point out to others the positive things I see.
“Recognizing Our Common Humanity”
I found this to be really good advice and I encourage you to try it. Honestly, it’s not hard to look at someone and see that they want the same things you do. To make it easier, focus on just one thing that you can easily assume you both want, something like happiness or health.
“Tap Into Your Resonance”
If you are ever feeling out of sorts, alone or untouched, try telling the story of something that has touched you.
“Dyslexia, an Advanced Form of Evolution?”
Back in 1985, I read a book that dramatically changed the course of my life. It deals with such topics as love, trust and acceptance, topics that typically aren’t discussed in books on education, in most teacher training programs, or in most faculty rooms.
“The Secret to Slowing Down Your Negative Reactions”
We need to practice slowing down our reactions to events that impact us, even those on a national or international level. As we practice doing this, it gets easier. The better we get at it, interestingly enough, the fewer events there are that trigger us.
“Focusing Our Attention on the Profound”
Disciplined, I learn to see the difference between the distracting and the divine, between the pointless and the profound. In time, I find that I’ve come to internally filter out the things that distract me, which allows me to gently focus on the divine and the profound.
“Kindness is Out There Just Waiting to be Found”
So I think one of our roles in life is to anonymously plant “pennies,” surprises for people to find without them knowing we planted them.
“How to Appreciate the Mundane Tasks in Our Lives”
We all have repetitious tasks that may seem tedious, even boring to do, so much so that we might complete them on auto-pilot. But these are often the tasks that need to get to done to ensure the bigger projects get done.
“Just What is a Flaw, Anyway?”
Are flaws there to teach me humility, to remind me that I’m not perfect and should therefore not expect perfection in others? Is it to provide me something to work on, to grow from, to better myself, knowing I will never be able to “fix” everything? Seen this way, then they are not flaws at all but an important part of who I am.
“Ask For What You Want”
The lesson here is to be bold, to ask for what you want. The answer often is yes. When you don’t ask, the answer is always no.