Why We Should Be Kind to Bullies

16 Jul

This masterful piece by comedians Key and Peele reveals a hidden, but obvious truth about bullies. They are often hurting themselves and don’t know other ways to express it. So fascinating to see this perspective played out so well.

Learned a New Word Today: “Seva”

21 Apr

“Seva” is sanskrit for “Selfless Service“, and is a kind of yoga practice. This came up in a conversation with Avani, the owner of Om Puerto Viejo, a yoga center and hostel in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. She had some great ideas about kindness curricula for classrooms, too! Lots to think about.

Some Kindness Science

20 Apr

Who’s the kindest of them all? Some science confirms what we maybe already knew – women are more empathetic, and people who’ve suffered loss are more likely to be compassionate towards others.

http://www.mdconnects.com/articles/1214/20140418/kindest-humans-revealed-psychological-study.htm

Into the Mouths Of Babes

19 Apr

A 7 year-old in North Carolina got busy when he learned about a food program for hungry children in his state. He started raising funds and food for hungry children. This year he raised enough to feed 16 kids for a year.

His website

And the Huffington Post Article

What Does Kindness Get You? This.

9 Apr

A beautiful video from Thailand showing what’s in it for you.

Kid Kindness

20 Mar

The Surprising and Beautiful Empathy of a Middle School Football Team

25 Nov

Last month, something beautiful happened on a Michigan football field, and it wasn’t simply a brilliant play. The players of Olivet Middle School conspired to make the day for their learning disabled new teammate, Keith Orr, by setting him up for sweet victory and literally (and figuratively) handing him the ball.

Without the knowledge or assistance of their coach, these young boys purposely took a knee at the one-yard line so that Keith could be the recipient of a touchdown pass on the next play. “Nothing can really explain getting a touchdown when you’ve never had one before,” said teammate and co-conspirator Justice Miller, explaining the joy they wanted to bestow upon their new friend.

We have a tendency to dismiss youth culture as cruel and shallow, especially in the internet age. These boys have completely flipped that idea on its head, showing kindness and compassion in a way most adults would find astonishing. Keith struggles with boundaries – often hugging friends and classmates any chance he gets – in the sweetest manner possible. These boys recognized that their new addition needed a boost of recognition and a truly positive experience at school. The boys delivered above and beyond on their secret promise, making Keith into a school celebrity. “Because he’s never been cool or popular, and he went from being, like, pretty much a nobody to making everyone’s day,” said Justice.

“I kind of went from being somebody who mostly cared about myself and my friends to caring about everyone and trying to make everyone’s day and everyone’s life,” he continued. Here, Justice highlights possibly the most important outcome of this bold act of kindness. Sharing happiness with others allows it to blossom within us. Recognizing this has changed these boys’ lives for the better, and given the adult world a beautiful example of thoughtful compassion we could all learn from.

Can Happiness Spread Through Social Networks?

15 Nov

10826326775_6cb46f83e1

 

In 2008, the British Medical Journal published the results of the Framingham Heart Study, a 20-year, 4,739 subject undertaking meant to evaluate whether happiness can spread from person to person, and whether niches of happiness can form within social networks. The findings were remarkable: clusters of happiness result from the spread of happiness – and not simply a tendency for people to associate with similar individuals.

Happiness, in other words, is not merely a function of individual experience or individual choice; it is also a currency among groups of people. In fact, changes in an individual’s happiness can ripple through social networks and give rise to widespread structure in the network, birthing clusters of happy and unhappy individuals. These results are especially phenomenal considering that the spread of happiness requires close physical proximity and that the effect decays over time.

The results line up consistently with prior studies on the evolutionary basis and necessity of human emotion. Aside from their internal and psychological relevance, emotions have a distinctly social role. We humans experience emotions inside and show them outside. The emotion of happiness, the study concludes, serves the evolutionary purpose of enhancing social bonds, like laughter and smiling. These outward expressions solidify social relationships: producing, rewarding, and encouraging others through ongoing social contact. This paves the way for the understanding that great psychological, social, and biological rationales exist to vindicate the idea that social networks are extremely relevant to human happiness.

The study also bumped up against the apparent limitations of this happiness spread, reaching at most three degrees of separation, similar to the behavioral spread of obesity and smoking. Although the personal effect between individuals may be strong, there is significant decay before reaching throughout the entire network; the cascading bloom of happiness is not limitless.

One aspect of this study that will be of particular interest for future students is that the research did not allow for an indication of the actual, causal mechanics of happiness spread. A plethora of mechanisms are possible. Happy people might be adjusting their behavior toward others, sharing outward emotional displays in genuinely contagious fashion. They may simply spread their good fortunate in functional, pragmatic terms through social largesse or financial generosity. The most important takeaway here is that, however it occurs, an individual’s happiness is paramount to society’s widespread and lasting wellbeing. When someone is happy, others are too. When people share happiness, critical elements of life ranging from health to productivity contribute to the expansive nature of our understanding of quality of life.

Paying it forward and the kindness of strangers

24 Oct

It’s easy to be cynical when big celebs are paying for random acts of kindness, but it is a growing ‘thing’ among ordinary people.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/24/playing-it-forward-ellen-degerneres

Costume Not Required-but it may help.

18 Oct

Acts of kindness don’t require masks and capes, or do they? Whether you decide to dote the latest spandex unitard with matching mask and cape, or your regular jeans and favorite hoodie, doing good deeds is never out of style.  We are always on the lookout for people who are generating, spreading and boasting kindness, regardless of their attire.

I came across a news story about a man in Tokyo, who dresses in a green Power Ranger suit, and waits at the top of the subway stairs to help people carry their large bags, strollers or other.  What a nice gesture, right? Well, there is a story behind his need for a costume.

“The slender 27-year-old has spent three months being a Good Samaritan at the station on Tokyo’s western side. Like many in the city, it has neither elevators nor escalators and a long flight of dimly lit stairs.

In a green outfit with silver trim and matching mask, a superhero, who calls himself Carry-Your-Pram-Ranger, waits by the stairs of the Tokyo subway station, lending his strength to the elderly, passengers lugging heavy packages and mothers with baby strollers.”

When Tadahiro Kanemasu began doing these good deeds, people looked at him like he was a “weirdo.”  Apparently in Tokyo, patrons have a hard time accepting help because they feel that they are supposed to help the other person, so it puts them in an awkward “How can I help you if you are helping me?” catch-all, additionally, people are taught to avoid anything that may be seen as a ‘risk’.  Ok, I can see how a man grabbing ahold of your bags in a subway station when you are all alone, female and elderly, could be seen as a risk, but c’mon, the man actually has good intentions for once.  Doesn’t it bother you that there are so many ‘bad’ people in the world that the ones who are trying to help are seen as predators?

This is where the costume came into play.  When Kanemasu started appearing in his ‘Green Ranger’ costume, and offering to help, people still looked at him like he was a weirdo, but “in a good way”.  Funny how that works: street clothes=risk, funny costume=safe? I don’t know, but I’ll take it, and lately, there seems to be interest from others:

“Since Kanemasu can set aside only a couple of hours each day for his good deeds [he also works in an organic greenhouse-hence the color choice of his ranger] he hopes to recruit others in different colored suits. Already he has inquiries about pink and red.”

You are certainly not expected to roam the streets in the wee hours of the morning in some crazy get-up to be a superhero.  There are many quick-and less fashionable (in my opinion)- ways to make someone’s day a little less hectic.  Volunteer at a children’s hospital (who wouldn’t want to play an hour of their week away), offer to carry groceries for the elderly lady at the store, mow a little outside of your own property lines (and onto your neighbors lawn) next time you are doing yard work; and if you want to wear a cape while doing it, we won’t judge you, in fact, please send pictures.