Year 12 Update: The Value of Kindness
How have you shown kindness to someone today? Has someone been kind to you?
“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” – Henry James.
I used this quote in the first meeting I had with the Year 11 cohort last year. These students are now in Year 12, and I have spoken with them on many occasions since that first day in February 2018 about kindness and the value of such a quality and the impact kindness can have on others.
Kindness can be defined as “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate … motivated by the desire to help another and not to gain explicit reward” and I consider this to be so important when we interact with each other. One random act of kindness each day has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. A focus on kindness can facilitate ways to manage mistakes, resolve conflicts and repair relationships, thereby having a significant impact on our overall wellbeing. In Sarah Tashjiian’s (2018) article, ‘Does it pay to be kind?’, she identifies several kindness benefits all supported by scientific inquiry. Prosocial behaviours increase happiness and self-esteem; being kind improves how others see and accept you; and kindness leads to reduction in risks for disease. Australian psychologist Andrew Fuller asked 1,000 young people what they looked for in a friend, with ‘kindness and caring’ rating as one of the top characteristics.
A simple ‘Good morning’ or ‘How was your weekend?’ or giving up your seat to someone on a crowded train, can have a significant impact on the lives of others around us and I encourage the Year 12 cohort to look for opportunities to display their kindness, not only within their friendship group, but outside of this group and beyond.
This year, the Year 12 cohort have delivered some ‘random acts of kindness’ to the Senior School students. In Term 1, they made fairy bread and organised an Easter Hunt and they set up an ice cream station and handed out ice cream cones with toppings. These acts of kindness generated much connectivity and inclusiveness throughout the Senior School. The Year 12 students will soon be starting a gratitude wall in their Common Room where they will post messages about the kind things people have done for them.