Last week when I visited the fifth grade where I volunteer, the kids were deep into a math/art project. They were each making a mobile that demonstrated something about fractions. It involved tying tiny knots and balancing cards hung from strings along a dowel. Soon it was evident that some kids were better at the knot tying and others at the balancing. Small groups gathered as they helped each other. Along with fractions came this other, more important lesson. A spirit of cooperation prevailed.
It’s just one reason I love hanging out with kids. That kindness thing.
I have benefited greatly from the kindness of children. Like the letter from a second grader who wrote: “Here’s an idea. Zelda and Ivy go to the movies. You can take it from there.”
Perhaps you are flailing around for a character. Here are some extra characters offered to me by a student at Sharpstein Elementary in Walla Walla, which I, in turn, offer to you:
I have been listening to Martin Seligman’s book on the psychology of happiness, Flourish. One of his ideas for increasing your happiness is to plan and carry out an act of kindness. Research shows that such actions boost your sense of well-being. I think the fifth graders whose nimble fingers tied knots and balanced mobiles experienced that.
I know that children also have a great capacity for cruelty. But today I am thinking about kindness and wondering if you have any thoughts or stories to add to mine.