I'm been noticing the importance of kindness lately. Maybe it is because the calm of Christmas has been replaced by the busy-ness of January and back to work. Maybe it is because I have been trying to be kind more often as part of my New Year's resolution and our grey, west coast weather can make me feel low. Or, maybe it is because I've been reflecting on the kindnesses my granddaughter has been experiencing both at school and at 'Fire Camp' work experience. Whatever the cause today I remembered the Random Acts of Kindness book I loved so years ago. I went searching and found their website and some interesting research.
"A recent study, KindnessCounts, conducted by researchers from the University of British Columbia and the University of California, Riverside, broke new ground by showing the benefits derived by tweens when they were taught happiness-increasing strategies.
For a month, several hundred 9 to11 year olds performed and recorded three acts of kindness each week for anyone they wished. Another several hundred kept track of three pleasant places they visited during the week.
Not surprisingly, the results were consistent with adult studies. When kids performed acts of kindness or took notice of the pleasant places they visited during the week, they significantly increased feelings of happiness and satisfaction.
But those who performed acts of kindness received an additional benefit. Measuring how well children were liked or accepted by their peers, the study showed those who performed acts of kindness gained an average of 1.5 friends during the four-week period – good support for the idea that “nice guys finish first.” ...." and the article goes on. Follow the link to read more.
Many years ago I read somewhere that we are often more kind to strangers than to people we know and love. As I reflected, I remembered arriving home after a hard day and feeling justified in being grumpy to my husband and children. Yet, they had done nothing to deserve it. In fact, they deserved my very best self. I made a vow. I would be as kind to my loved ones as I am to strangers. It is something I continue to try to improve more than 18 years later. While I think I am much better, when my grumpy-self makes an appearance, I have to find a way to make myself scarce (getting exercise is the best way for me to transform grumpy into happy). Or, if that isn't possible, I confess my grumpiness and I own it. And, I give people an option to not spend time in my company.
Let me make my connection to assessment... when we co-construct criteria around our processes, we give people a chance (whatever their age) to say what matters to them. And, as a result, we have better understanding of what it takes to make the process we are co-constructing criteria around work for everyone. It helps us bridge our different experiences, our differing knowledge, and our differing ways of showing and doing... and allows us to be more considerate, more kind, and more able to build positive relationships with those around us.
All my best,
Be the change you want to see.... Ghandi
Small kindnesses, small courtesies, small considerations, habitually practiced in our social intercourse, give a greater charm to the character than the display of great talent and accomplishments.
from Thoughts on Virtue (1996)