So just over a week ago I stumbled across a video that was both beautiful and inspiring. I hardly ever share a link on my Facebook page, but there was something about this particular story that compelled me to not only share it with all my friends, but to write about it as well. The video (see link below) is about how a bullied high school student took matters into his own hands, and proved how a small and simple act of kindness can make a profound difference in people’s lives. I think it struck such a powerful chord in me because bullying is the one thing that gets me down to my core, and also because we are working extremely hard in our own community to empower students and teachers alike to take a stand against bullying, and to create a culture of kindness for everyone. One of the main components of our new strategic plan revolves around the issue of bullying, and truthfully, it’s the area that I’m most passionate about. I’m a firm believer that big, meaningful change can begin with the very simplest of things…little changes that together over time will make the biggest difference in a school environment. In this poignant video that you absolutely need to watch if you haven’t already, the simple act of opening doors for people brought a community together, and transformed countless lives in remarkable ways. The best part about it though, was that it was just one courageous young man that initiated this transformation…reminding us all that each and every one of us has the power to affect transformational change, simply by being vulnerable and courageous enough to put the best versions of ourselves out there for the world…
Creating a true culture of kindness in a school is not an easy thing to do in my opinion, because it takes time and commitment and courage on everyone’s part. It has to do with what a school actually values…and celebrates…and tolerates…and specifically teaches. It’s not something that just happens by wishing it to life, it has to embody and spill out of everything that you do as an organization…and it needs to be owned by the kids! With all that happens in the run of a day, and all the things that are going on in our individual lives inside and outside of school, it’s easy to let frustration and our own personal agendas take over…it’s hard to be kind all the time, and to slow down enough to empathize, and to listen, and to give of yourself, and to open up your eyes to see that someone might just need your help, even if they’re not asking for it. Creating a culture of kindness is hard work…but there is no better work that a school community could do honestly, and it needs to be the foundation for the rest of the initiatives to splinter off of. Without a culture of kindness, where everyone feels physically and emotionally safe, you’ll be hard pressed to accomplish your lofty goals as a school…
Next week I’m heading off on a ten-day recruiting trip, where I’ll be looking to bring outstanding educators to our community…educators who will be eager to join us on our transformational journey. Of course I’ll be looking for qualified and experienced master teachers, with degrees and know-how and air-tight content knowledge, but honestly, more than fantastic teachers I’ll be looking for fantastic people. People who will inspire, and lead, and love life, and who will be kind. It’s who you are as a person that will get a quality school’s attention, so when you’re waxing poetic about curriculum and assessment and the latest innovative teaching strategies, make sure to let your inner beauty shine…and don’t forget to laugh and to smile and to be passionate about why you truly love being an educator. You see, to bring a culture of kindness to life at a school, you first need kind and beautiful people on your team…it’s one thing to say that you’ll celebrate random acts of kindness at every turn, and set up pay it forward initiatives in every division, and roll out anti-bullying projects each and every year, but without kind, searchlight soul change agent adults at the helm, the students will never internalize the message…and your culture of kindness, no matter how desperately you want it to take root, will never truly blossom. Oh, by the way…here at Academia Cotopaxi, we have these kind and inspiring adults everywhere you look, which is why our culture of kindness is beginning to flower…we’re definitely “opening doors” for our students, our community, and each other! Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be kind to our students and kind to each other.
Quote of the Week…..
I’d rather be an optimist and a fool than a pessimist and right.
― Albert Einstein
Opening Doors Video:
Other Inspiring videos about kindness:
Culture of Kindness Websites and Articles: