When my son was in kindergarten, his teacher allowed me to sneak into the classroom once a week to talk about kindness with the kids.
It was the most difficult and delightful experience I’ve ever had. Any discussion about a kind character in a book usually spiraled into a goldfish dying or a loose tooth. You would have been impressed with the creative spins I used to tie everything back into kindness.
Alia Woolfe is a kindergarten teacher and founder of Kindgram, a business inspired by her very kind grandmother who taught Alia about the power of thoughtfulness.
Alia has many kindness stories through her beautiful business, but the one she shared with me recently reminded me about my own time in the kindergarten classroom.
"My latest favorite kindness-based story is from my life as a kindergarten teacher. Kindness is a big deal in my class and I try to weave it into most of what I do.
"Most years I get to sprinkle kindness all around in person, but not this year. This year I was asked to teach the remote kindergarten class, and although I was nervous and unsure of my tech abilities I said yes.
"I tried to look at the situation as an opportunity over an obligation. I have found that I can still sprinkle in a ton of teaching about kindness and can show kindness, it's just a bit more challenging, on top of all the other challenges that come with teaching kindergarten via Zoom during a pandemic. But, what I am about to write next makes all the challenges of teaching via Zoom worth it.
"Every day I conduct a Lunch Bunch Zoom with my class. We eat lunch together, talk about the details of our lunch and then have a little social time. Each day has a theme: Show & Tell Monday, Talk Time Tuesday, Kind Words Wednesday, Jokes & Riddles Thursday and Dance Party Friday. Jokes and Riddles Day is the best. The kids try so hard and no matter what kind of nonsense joke or riddle they tell, we always laugh.
"A couple days ago one of my quieter students raised his hand. I was so excited to hear what he had to say. 'Mrs. Woolfe, what is something that can go round and round?'
"I say, 'A merry-go-round?' Nope, not a merry-go-round. The class guesses a few more things — a carousel, a Ferris wheel. Nope.
"Finally, he reveals the answer: Kindness.
"Kindness can go round and round. I cried. Happy tears. Because even during a pandemic, even during Zoom learning, kindness can be taught and displayed and understood.
"I am so grateful that my grandma inspired in me a love of understanding and displaying kindness. I am so grateful that I get to share kindness with my students. I am so grateful that people are helping deliver kindness through Kindgram."
If you’d like more information about Kindgram, you can visit https://kindgram.shop.
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at email@example.com.
Nicole J. Phillips, a former Fargo television anchor, is a speaker, author and host of The Kindness Podcast. She lives in Aberdeen, S.D., with her three children and her husband, Saul Phillips, the head men's basketball coach at Northern State University. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.