the kindness tree

Each month, my daughter’s school celebrates and studies a character trait. This month, they selected kindness. Our school counselor engaged with all nineteen classrooms on lessons in kindness. For the younger classes, she read a story called “Fluffy and Baron” and for the older kids they read and discussed actual articles about other school’s on the same journey.  A challenge to be more compassionate, more giving, and well, more kind.

On campus, students handed out paper hearts and encouraged kids to think about ways they could be kind at home, in school, or in their community. A large construction paper tree trunk with branches filled a portion of the MUB wall. Tree of Kindness was neatly spelled out across the based of the tree. Before long, the kids had posted over 540 ways to be kind. Some long. Some short. Some sad. Some funny. Impressive in its size; it was an inspiring read. A special place where kindness was realized in the form of a paper tree.

Ava told me her heart said, “Feed the cats.” I asked her to expand and she said she would do it without being asked.

Mia was inspired. She noticed some of the hearts had fallen to the ground behind the mats. She pulled them out, stacked them, and stuck them back onto the tree. “Look Momma,” she said, “I’m putting the hearts back on the tree!”

The Kindness Challenge extended to home life as well. Ava had a list of things to work on. She smiled at ten strangers. I loved it when she would capture someone’s eye, smile, and say “hi.” People often looked surprised, but happy at her engagement. She picked flowers with her little sister and delivered them to our neighbor’s home up the street.  They stayed and had a nice visit with her as well. We walked our road and picked up trash. There wasn’t much, only a few scraps of paper and a little piece of plastic, but our mission was accomplished.


Ava’s after care was also celebrating service and kindness. She came home with a neon green piece of paper labeled “Service Project.” It was up to her to help someone without being asked. She could then fill out the form and turn it in. We were out to dinner and Ava excused herself to the bathroom. When she returned, she told me that she had helped a little girl wash her hands. When we returned home, she filled out her form. Under the How Did It Make You Feel? section, Ava wrote “It mad me feel happy.”

The world can always use a little more kindness, more compassion, more love. Kindness begets kindness, so if you need a little inspiration, read these:

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