February 24, 2017, the Friday of Kindness Week, turned out quite different than I had originally thought it would – in the best way ever!
When I woke up that morning, I thought that I was going into one of my favourite classes to present the kids with a Kindness Award on behalf of Kind Ottawa.
But before I get too far ahead … I should start at the beginning. I should share with you the beautiful story that Teresa, the fantastic teacher of these wonderful kids, sent to Kind Ottawa when she nominated her class:
“It is with a very proud and happy heart that I nominate my students in the Primary Language Class (AM class has 10 students and PM class has 10 students) at St. Anthony Catholic School for a Kindness award. Last school year, we worked closely with Ms. Lindsey Barr and participated in a “Kindness in the Classroom” program. With her help and support, our students completed acts of kindness once a month in our school and community.
This year, we continue to spread kindness throughout the school. For example: in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, the students brainstormed all the people who work with us and help us (for example: Ms. Patenaude, our speech-language pathologist, our volunteers Mrs. Dorothy and Mrs. Dexter, our principal and office administrator, our librarian, our caretaker, our breakfast room monitor, Father Felix, etc.). The students then created wonderful Valentine cards and these will be delivered to them personally this week.”
It is important to note here that the kids in Teresa’s class are with her for three years – from Grades 1 – 3 – so many of the kids who I visited last year are still in the class this year. What I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE about this is that the seeds of kindness that I planted last year by going into the class to complete monthly Acts of Kindness have continued to grow into a big, beautiful garden of kindness. The kids are still talking about and practicing kindness this year. This is exactly what World-Changing Kids is all about!
Now back to the morning of February 24 … I emailed Teresa in the morning to just finalize the details for the Kindness Award presentation. The plan had originally been that I would go into the classroom to present to the kids – really simple – I just wanted to confirm that this was still the plan.
Teresa mentioned that the Principal actually wanted to hold an assembly in the gym for the whole school – so that all the kids could see this amazing class being honoured for their kindness. This was fine, no problem. I told Teresa that I could put together a little PowerPoint presentation – based on two Kindness Presentations I had done earlier in the week at two other schools.
Then I contacted Megan at Kind Ottawa to work out the details for picking up the Kindness Award on my way to the school. Megan told me that they were all actually able to attend this presentation – so it would be Megan, Cindy and Rabbi Bulka. That was great news! I was happy for the kids to be getting an even bigger event – they deserved all this recognition.
I went to St. Anthony a bit early so that I could spend some time visiting with the super kids in their classroom. We then all walked together to the gym for the assembly. I did a short presentation about how “Kindness is Your Superpower” and how each child has the power to make the world a better place now. I talked to the kids about some really easy Acts of Kindness they can do – using photos of the kids in Teresa’s class from last year. Then I passed it over to the Principal, Ms. Aldrich-Braddon, and Rabbi Bulka to present the Kindness Award to these awesome kids.
The kids were so proud to receive this award and to be up in front of the whole school being recognized for their good work. This is the kind of experience that helps kids become the best World-Changing Kids they can be. The whole school is demonstrating that they value kindness – this will make all the kids in the school want to do more kindness. Recognizing children for kindness is simple, but so powerful.
So I thought we were done after this. But Rabbi Bulka and Cindy, from Kind Ottawa, had a surprise for me ….
They called me back up to present me with a Kindness Award! I was so touched to be recognized for my kindness work. Then the kids from Teresa’s class came back up to give me some Valentine cards. Apparently they had actually thought of me all on their own when they were making Valentine Cards. I felt so special being showered with all this love and kindness!
I received this lovely Kindness Award because Teresa nominated me! In her email to Kind Ottawa she explained that I had come in for monthly Kindness in the Classroom workshops the previous year and she wrote:
“I strongly believe that this Kindness in the Classroom program encourages children to become responsible and caring members of society.
My students fondly refer to Ms. Barr as our “kindness teacher”. She has inspired us to continue her kindness work this school year. I applaud her devotion to her work.”
All of this reinforces how Acts of Kindness, no matter how small, really are so powerful and impact-full. I was so touched to be receiving this recognition – am honoured that Teresa took the time to nominate me, and that Cindy, Megan and Rabbi Bulka all came to present the award to me. This provides me with even more energy to keep growing World-Changing Kids. This gives me more confidence to believe in its importance. This further clarifies that I have found my purpose. I am filled with such gratitude. Big thank yous to Teresa, Cindy, Megan and Rabbi Bulka. Now forward we go to continue making the world a better place!