It is important to teach children to be kind! I believe teaching is about preparing our students for the future. That includes modeling and teaching them how to be kind, respectful and productive human beings. In a time where people seem to forget how to disagree in a respectful way, I think it is important to talk about why we work so hard to help our students learn what kindness looks like. We work hard to teach our students how to treat others kindly, how to stand up for what they believe in a respectful way and how to think of more than just themselves.

It has to be modeled in a variety of ways, not just told to them. Our actions mean more than our words. Throughout the year, we model how to be kind to our classmates, our school and our community. We do random acts of kindness, charitable work and appreciate the people in our community to teach this concept. It is an ongoing lesson throughout the whole school year and is one that all of the students love. They generate ideas of different ways to give back and they vote on their ideas. They learn that their ideas are important. We vote and work together to come up with who we will help or honor. The class or classes then work together towards that goal. As a staff, it is important to us to make sure our students see us being kind. We believe that it is a lesson that will carry them throughout their life.

Ten Reasons to Model Kindness

1. Good manners show gratitude not entitlement. They become more grateful for what they have.
2. It teaches children how to treat others with kindness and respect classmate’s ideas. They learn to listen to one another.
3. It teaches them how to take other people’s feelings into account. It is amazing to watch them try to compromise and work together.
4. It teaches them how to be polite in situations. They use manners while discussing their ideas.
5. It teaches them empathy.
6. It teaches them the joy of helping others. They will feel good and are proud of themselves for their actions.
7. It makes giving a habit. Every day, my students come to me with ways to help. It might be because of an earthquake or to help a friend.
8. It teaches them how to be involved and how to problem solve. As soon as a natural disaster happens in our world, my students want to find a way to help.
9. It encourages your child’s passions. They learn what is important to them. Is it animals, the environment or homeless people? It could be anything.
10. It teaches them management skills. We try to give them leader roles and a way to take ownership of their ideas.

We have to lead by example. We often use the words “Be Kind,” but it is not enough to just say it. We have to show them how and that we believe in the concept ourselves. Children are always watching us and how we treat each other so let’s all work together to be the kindness in this world. I know my students are the problem solvers of our future. Their kindness inspires me!

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Christine Jansen is an elementary teacher at New Morning School, Plymouth, MI. She can be reached at christine@newmorningschool.com.