Updated: Mar 31
I grew up in communist Bulgaria and I have dear memories from my childhood. My friends and I were compassionate, responsible and kind to each other. The truth is that we were extremely nice to other people, too and I guess it all stems from the way we were brought up and encouraged to cooperate at school.
At the beginning of each school term, every child would receive a card, prepared by a group of selected students, which had 3 tasks to do, such as:
1. Read five books
2. Help an elderly person
3. Collect and recycle 5 kilos of paper
Even so, nobody complained about their personal assignments and diligently completed the tasks. Needless to say, at the end of the term we had to report back to our classmates and class teacher. I remember we felt proud of our achievements and happy to have contributed to our community.
While talking to my students about World Kindness Day last week, we completed our weekly kindness journals and committed to creating a ripple effect with our acts of kindness. To be honest, I was amazed to hear the ideas they came up with so I decided to share them with you:
For children and teens:
* tutor a classmate in a subject you're good at,
*volunteer to take out the rubbish for a week
*create a bookmark with a positive quote
*plant a tree
*help an elderly neighbour
*play a game with your grandparents
*paint a HAPPY stone and leave it somewhere
*choose a book you find inspiring and gift it to someone
*write a hand-written letter to a friend about a time they made you happy
*plant some herbs in a pot
*look after your neighbour’s pet for an hour
*make a Christmas card for your bestie
*pay for someone’s morning coffee
*compliment the waiter in your local café
*volunteer in the local shelter
*leave a post-it note with a positive message on somebody’s car/ in the library
*donate your clothes to a charity shop;
*register on OLIO app and give away some unwanted food items
*shop from a small local business
*make something (knit a pair of gloves or bake a cake) and give it away
*connect with someone you love but haven’t heard from for a long time
*start a community garden
*leave a generous tip to your hairdresser
*pick up rubbish in the local park
Aren’t their suggestions marvellous? I wonder what ideas you and your students have up your sleeve.
Last but not least, I am aware of the fact that many teachers seem to be experiencing severe emotional burnout and dread going to work. So may I invite you to slow down and be kind to yourself, too? Here are my 5 self-care suggestions for you, dear teacher:
1️⃣ Find a podcast on a topic you feel passionate about. I particularly like “Meditative story” which always calms me down and stirs my imagination.
2️⃣ Allocate “ME” time to revive yourself. A nice cuppa in the chilly autumn evening or a meditation sounds like music to my ears.
3️⃣ Discover new ways to be “in the moment” and bring joy into your life. Have you tried journalling your thoughts or writing positive quotes?
4️⃣ Get outside and take a walk in nature. Whatever the weather, I consider a stroll in the park to be a pure feast for my senses. And if the weather is bad, why don’t you indulge yourself with my "Autumn in the Forest Cottage" visualisation.
5️⃣ We don't need to go to Bali to employ a retreat. Check out local yoga workshops or sound baths to enjoy some new therapeutic activities. Or why not try making Kokedama? Here’s a video how:
And if you like me teach online, or spend a lot of your screen, you may enjoy this post.
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