What if?

What if our tongues could speak only good?

What if we solely spoke that which we should?

How would we change and grow in reaction?

And would this result in less dissatisfaction?

If we held true to our vision and dream

Holding each other in the highest esteem

Could we alleviate sorrow and pain

By revealing a rainbow when the forecast is rain?

What would it take for us all to embrace

The strangers among us, the same human race?

To go through our day with a kindly demeanour?

To strive to make living that little bit greener?

Our kindness defines us, our kindness is free

What say we two start, with just you and me?

And who knows where one kindly action may lead

If our kindness takes root, shan’t all grow and succeed?

The world has seemed a strange place recently for many of us; locked down, unable to hug close family and friends, and our mental health has been strained due to the pressures of work and financial insecurity, and the uncertainties related to our own health and that of our loved ones.

It’s times like these when a little kindness goes a very long way.

World Kindness Day is observed around the world on 13th November each year after being introduced in 1998, by a coalition of kindness NGOs. In the UK, it is fronted by Kindness UK, “an independent, not-for-profit organisation based in London which considers itself the first point of call for initiatives, unbiased information and research on the subject of kindness.” It  believes that every day should be filled with kindness and their goal and sole aim is to promote, share and unite on this basis.

Kindness is a common thread that binds humanity and in times of need, it is often the smallest acts of kindness that keep us going through dark times. Certainly, if you watched the daily COVID-19 updates issued by the Government in the early days of the pandemic, you might have been grateful for the stories of the positive impact of human kindness and community spirit that punctuated the statistics of hospital admissions and deaths.

The Kindness UK website says:

“Kindness is a fundamental part of the human condition which bridges the divides of race, religion, politics, gender and zip codes.”

Kindness can be freely given and gratefully received, and it can make the difference between living in despair or living in hope. It could be as grand as paying for a group of deprived children to go on a day out that they wouldn’t normally be able to afford; or a few additional grocery items bought and added to the local food bank; or as simple as smiling, saying ‘thank you’ or giving a compliment to a stranger.

Kindness UK have created a number or resources for primary and secondary schools which could also be used by other institutions such as nurseries and downloaded in pdf format. The pack contains resources such as certificate templates, stories, word games and stickers. The primary school pack can be accessed here and the secondary school pack, here.

Last year there were various ways that the world and the UK celebrated the day. These included, 10,000 free chocolate bars being handed out at London train stations from Kindness UK; World Kindness Australia conducted a community Kindness Hug on Bondi Beach; A ‘Kind Kids’ award ceremony was put on in Scotland and there have been simultaneous flash mobs in 33 cities and 15 countries, with give-aways and celebrations in different countries and communities worldwide.

Celebrate World Kindness Day in your setting

Everyone is encouraged to join in a make a pledge of kindness on the website. A pledge can be from anyone - individuals, community groups, nurseries and educational institutions or NGOs, or governments, and you can pledge to do anything that counts as a kind act. To make a pledge, visit: http://www.kindnessuk.com/pledge.php.

There are lots of ideas for things to do on Kindness Day on their website, but we’ve chosen some of our favourite ideas to get you started.

  • Leave money in a parking meter, ticket or vending machine for the next person
  • Help an elderly person with their shopping
  • Join or set up a local community group with a view to getting to know your neighbours and increasing the sense of care and community in the area
  • Pay the road/bridge toll for the vehicle driving behind you
  • Leave a pile of pennies by a fountain for others to make a wish
  • Adopt a rescued animal as your pet
  • Write a blog about kindness
  • Donate old towels or blankets to an animal shelter
  • Celebrate the everyday heroes/kind figures in your local area or within your setting
  • Create a positive or ‘thank you’ board for staff and parents to stick up gratitude notes
  • Organise a free treat for all your staff

Here are some of our own making that you can do with nursery-aged children:

  • Ask people to donate things and make and decorate a hamper that you deliver to a suitable recipient or organisation
  • Send anonymous kindness cards thanking people you know for things they’ve done – you can ask staff to write down the things the children say
  • Get the children to help with some cleaning or gardening
  • Make some smiley faces with the children that they can give to their parents and carers
  • Organise to litter pick at your local park or setting
  • Give everyone you see a compliment, or at the very least, a really big SMILE!

If those don’t get you thinking, why not come up with your own based on your own abilities, resources and the community you live in. Remember to let us know what you’ve done by emailing hello@parenta.com.

Why not extend World Kindness Day and make it last all week, all month, or even better, all year?

For information about other charities that support World Kindness Day, see:

Poem “What if?” reproduced by permission of the author. 

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