As mentioned in a previous blog post, February is the month in which we at Mayerson highlight the strength of “love.” This strength is reflected in the valuing of close relationships with others, especially when the sharing and caring in the relationship goes both ways. In addition to romantic love, this strength may be experienced in our feelings towards a parent or child, it may be expressed through a selfless expression of kindness towards those around us, and it can be felt in deep friendships. It also is an emotion that can be generated when we’re feeling passionate about something or someone around us.
An exemplary demonstration of the many ways we might feel and demonstrate this passion has been displayed at the classroom of Carolyn Powers at Ethel Taylor Elementary in the Cincinnati Public Schools. Ms. Powers had her students look at all 24 of the character strengths through the lens of love and write about their thoughts. The result was a delightful doorway, filled with student reflections on strengths, “strengths-spotting” (noticing strengths in self or others), and acknowledgements of the power of love as well as the remaining 23 strengths. At Mayerson we believe that practicing naming, spotting, and using strengths results in students who are more motivated, more engaged, and who ultimately perform better in school and in life. Ms. Powers has found a creative way to embed these practices into a fun and timely activity!
As was demonstrated by Ms. Powers’ door, I’m always looking for any intersections for how students can practice strengths individually or in combination. Therefore, I was excited to hear a bit of “buzz” about 2017 Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Week, observed Feb. 12 – 18th and sponsored by the Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Foundation. What better combination than looking at love through the lens of kindness? RAK Week is an annual opportunity to unite us all through kindness, with the belief that “kindness is contagious.” Similar to the movie, Pay It Forward, the Foundation has as a core statement that kindness starts with one act – one smile, one coffee for a stranger, one favor for a friend. RAK Week is an opportunity for participants to leave the world better than they found it and inspire others to do the same. Over the last 20 years, the RAK Foundation estimates that millions of schools, celebrities, businesses, and partners have participated in this weeklong celebration.
Some ideas for simple acts of random kindness are indicated on their infographic below. To participate in 2017 RAK Week sign up at www.randomactsof.us and either add a challenge to the Kindness Generator or pledge to take part in a kindness challenge established by another person, educator or organization. Use #RAKWeek2017 on social networks to spread the word.