The A-Z of Child Whispering: K is for KINDNESS

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K is for KINDNESS
We use this word so easily but when you really analyse it – what does it actually mean?
Generally – friendly/generous and considerate are adjectives we think of with KINDNESS but I think gentleness is in there too.
I gave a workshop at the Singapore Kindness Movement conference one year and was encouraged by the positive response and interest.
Teachers and parents are really searching for ways to teach KINDNESS and I guess children do not always find the world to be a kind place!
I was chatting to a student last week and asked him about 1 change he would like to see in the world. WORLD PEACE was his choice. He told me how he sees the fighting and hatred on the television and how bad it is. He then asked me about MY childhood and I was catapulted back to a time when we didn’t see these hateful images on our screens every night.
It was a time when my Mum told me to run along after school and not to return till dinner-time. So, off to the river we went to climb trees, fall down, fish, slip in freezing streams and generally (mostly) get home in 1 piece to eat and off to bed with a book.
Imagine parents being able to say that to kids these days?
Recently I returned to that river and NOTHING has changed! Gentle village, village school, quiet lanes, Saxon Church and giant yew trees- feeling of indescribable peace,
Of course the world was not a totally safe place then and I certainly experienced my share of unkind teachers and children. This is part of normal growing up.
However, we were shielded and allowed freedom to think, be and develop.
I can’t help wondering what these horrific images in the media might be doing to young people? I don’t believe we can hide our children from the media forever. The student I was chatting with was 14 and very savvy with digital media, websites and the like.
But he was worried enough to want to chat about it.

So how can we teach our kids to be kind in this society?
We just DO it– one kind act at a time. Leap in!
I have always been a fan of the Random Acts of Kindness movement. https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/
But let’s model it and teach it in a way that is not always random. How about some deliberate PLANNED kindness!
Let’s set out every-day to be kind, model kindness too children and encourage them to practise it on a daily basis!
So – How do we teach kindness to children?
Start by being kind to yourself. Take some time each time to think and BE with yourself. Get back into your body and stop spinning!
Allow your children to do the same. Children crave SPARE TIME to just play and BE.

Be kind to your children- not indulgent. Look at this amazing website for practical examples and be inspired by the incredibly short but powerful life of Martin Richard– a real believe in peace and kindness. His message will live on forever!

Kindness: How You Can Teach Children to Care for Others

See this link for 14 amazingly practical ways to make kindness a way of daily family life! http://www.parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/advice/14-little-ways-to-encourage-kindness/

We have made KINDNESS a real part of our EQ4KIDZ program and we often have a minute of KINDFULNESS – where we sit with dimmed lights and consider kind acts we can do for each other.

We CAN change the world- 1 kind act at a time.
Children are wired for empathy and get so much satisfaction from BEING kind rather than just receiving kindness. Big people too!

PAY IT FORWARD for kids

 

The phrase Pay It Forward in red text on a yellow sticky note posted on a green notice board

Last night I watched the classic 2000 PAY IT FORWARD movie: https://youtu.be/TlZDDACt8Nw

If like me- you missed it- watch it today! Martin and I ended up blubbering on the couch but at the end decided that really PAY IT FORWARD is an amazing concept. I know there are various organisations, websites etc out there who organise this and we have used the concept in our EQ4KIDZ programs – especially with older children….. but somehow last night’s viewing has changed me. I want to consciously PAY IT FORWARD each day and help children to do the same.

I notice how excited our kids at ICE get when we talk about BIG IDEAS. They are fascinated and want to become involved. I am going to let this PAY IT FORWARD concept sit with me throughout Lent. (Always a good time for me to reflect!)

Then at Easter I hope to birth the idea to our kids in a really practical format.

What a simple concept. Strip away all the hype, publicity etc and just look at the idea. Imagine-  if we all gave 1 act of generosity a day- even a week or a month- and asked the recipient to simply pay it forward.

Seriously, the world COULD change. we could DO that! Before you call me a dewey eyed idealist- watch the movie and if you’ve seen it- watch it AGAIN.

“Kindfulness” Braids

Braided bracelet, colored threads, beads and various attributes
Braided bracelet, colored threads, beads and various attributes

This term all our students will be invited to stop, be mindful for a minute and then focus on a kind deed they can do.
They will then take 3 pieces of yarn or ribbon and braid them together to hang on our learning tree.
This braid will symbolise the way that kindness affects at least 3 people-
• The person we are kind to
• Ourselves as we feel good inside
• Someone else who is affected by what we have done. (They may have seen the act, or benefited because the recipient of kindness tends to spread the love!)

This kindness braids us all together and causes ripple effects in our lives.
When I explained this to yesterday’s students (first day of term), they were very excited and wanted to start immediately! They also want to wear these KINDNESS braids as bracelets and thread beads onto them! I guess, (as usual), the children have taken an idea and transformed it. They breathed life into it and improved it!
We hope our learning tree and children’s wrists will be covered with these braids by the end of the term!
Next week we will be enjoying a special visualisation to help us spread the kindness and I will share it on this blog!

The ABC of Child Whispering: I is for IMPORTANT

AllKids are Smart Front Cover
As developing child whisperers we need to keep IMPORTANT in front of us at all times. That means thinking deeply about life and children.

It means letting children be who they are meant to be. It means honouring their cocktail of intelligences.

ALL KIDS ARE SMART can show you ways to assess your child’s intelligences and build on each one.

You can of course also assess and build your own intelligences as well with this book!

Of course we want the best for our children but that does not always mean academic success.

The values such as kindness, self-discipline, perseverance and loyalty are the most important things we teach as well as spiritual, emotional and social learning.

Listening to children and making time to be with them, are essential as we help them to grow.

Encouraging children to be kind and loving people are essential components of real learning. These values cannot be learned at speed and children gradually learn these through interactions with you and their close and extended family and community groups and through their play, books, media and faiths. Build a meaningful, positive and life enhancing home environment for your children and choose a schooling system that will build their EQ as well as their IQ!

You are a model- ultimately what you DO rather than what you say will have the greatest impact on your children.

Give up your preconceived notions of who they should be. (And who YOU want them to be!)

Rather ask- who are they?

Let them unfold and discover their own destiny and don’t stand in their way!

You say discipline, I say humiliation! by Guest Blogger, Kelli Gander

 

Sad little girl sitting in a cornerIt is no secret, teachers are like circus performers. They are  constantly juggling tasks, performing classroom magic, taming, orchestrating the show and entertaining and engaging a very tricky audience. All the while they do this they are also walking a very fine line between creativity and control, process and product, function and freedom.

That line will vary class to class and teacher to teacher. It will depend on personal philosophy, experience, training, skill sets and individual expectations but what happens when the line gets crossed, particularly when it comes to behaviour management of children?

I had a recent experience of this that was close to me. The teacher described her actions as discipline, I considered it humiliation. She said she was using a routine classroom strategy and I said she was shaming in order to achieve compliance. So where is that line?

I know for me personally, publicly shaming a child is never appropriate. Whatever short term gain the teacher may feel they have made is out weighed, considerably, by the emotional anguish and negative feelings the child suffers as a result.

I spoke to many adults, both friends and colleagues, who had stories of school day traumas that stay with them still, after being made emotionally vulnerable by a classroom teacher. Did it change their behaviour long term? Apparently no!

It would seem that research agrees. After a 3 year study by the University of South Australia, it is evidenced that exclusion and isolation of children is an ineffective means of affecting a change in student’s behaviour.
So why does it still happen routinely in our schools and why is it tolerated and considered acceptable? Perhaps not enough thought or attention is put into considering the rights of the child. That is not to say that the teacher should be left powerless but surely isolation, naughty chairs and public shaming are old and antiquated methods for our modern, emotionally intelligent and creative educators.

Surely we don’t have to make children feel bad about themselves in order to achieve a behavioural objective. Let’s use our powers for good, not as an emotional weapon to achieve a short term goal with possibly very long lasting emotional effects.
You say it’s discipline, l say It’s humiliation and I know my voice is not alone!

EQ IN MATHS

Teacher Teaching Maths To Elementary School Pupils

I watched a maths lesson yesterday at ICE.

It involved some pretty difficult 2/3 step problems based around our SPACE theme and Kelli commented quietly to me that we might need some easier examples for some of the children.

I suggested to Kelli that I put together some easier options and she observed for a while and wisely chose the harder option- to help the kids struggle and overcome.

She didn’t just teach them about maths with 2-3 processes- she taught them resilience and determination. Kelli taught them the value of collaboration and that we can All excel when we throw our hearts over the bar.

The children were so proud of themselves and we were all left feeling we had struggled together and WON- a great feeling for teachers AND children!

Well done Kelli- that is MASTER TEACHING!!! A few attitudes were changed and who knows- maybe some career options opened up?