“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop
“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” – Lao Tzu
“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” – Dalai Lama
Inspiring quotations about kindness are amazing and plentiful. To me, kindness is the manifestation of love and the world would be a much better place if we all perceived the abundance of kindness that constantly surrounds us.
One of my favorite ways we try to promote kindness, and the perception of kindness, in our Montessori classrooms is through the use of a Kindness Wreath. Each day, when a student experiences or observes kindness, the student walks to the kindness wreath, selects a ribbon, and ties the ribbon onto the wreath frame. This is done without fanfare or promotion and it takes place regularly throughout each day. Over the course of the school year, the wreath will fill completely with colorful ribbons and serves as a reminder of the beauty of kindness and its constant presence.
The more people perceive kindness, the better they become at recognizing it both within themselves and within others. By prioritizing it and promoting it within the community, the children remain extra observant of kindness and internalize the kindness of others in ways deeper than if they were simply told to be kind to one another. In my family, one of our dinner rituals is to discuss the kindness we experienced throughout the day. The kindness wreath helps give my boys a daily reference to acts of kindness they can share in those discussions.
The frames we use are metal and from a local craft store. You could also bend a metal clothes hanger into a circle. The ribbons vary in color, width, and texture and are as diverse as the acts that inspire them. We equally value all acts of kindness. Selecting from the different colorful choices also allows each child a chance to express themselves and the way they feel creatively.
Buried within this conceptual framework, I suspect the Guidepost Parent Community can contribute many great ideas to extend the concept. For example, if a child is able to write, they might add a word or phrase to the ribbon symbolizing the experience she had with kindness. I am excited to share this idea with the Guidepost Parent community and I am even more excited to see how others promote kindness in their home, classroom, and community.
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