How important is a single act of kindness? For most teens it can be the first step to becoming a better citizen. How can we teach this and why should we bother?
Inspired by a teacher.... this is important. We need to be real not just standing on a stage. Powerful actions come from leaders who inspire. The events of kindness will start small but once one kid realizes what can happen they all start to join in.
How many of you have seen the movie?
Read the book?
Pay it forward was a 2000 Movie starring
- Helen Hunt
- Kevin Spacey
- Haley Joel Osment
The story was about a young teen boy who takes a Social Studies assignment to Heart. His teacher Mr. St. Clair put this up on the Board THINK OF AN IDEA FOR WORLD CHANGE, AND PUT IT INTO ACTION.
When confronted by Trevor’s mother in the movie he describes the project this way...
"First of all, it's a voluntary assignment. For extra credit. If a student finds the idea overwhelming, he or she need not participate. Second of all, what I want is for the students to re-examine their role in the world, and think of ways one person can make a difference. It's a very healthy exercise."
Trevor’s idea was as follows
140 x 1 is 140 acts of kindness if people kept on doing or thinking about these acts over a period of time they would be sustained. (Not exponentially like in the movie but increased non the less) Students have 2 weeks to complete their act of kindness. They are expected to write about it at their blogs and to document their act somehow;
- work at a soup kitchen
- donate clothes and other items of their own to Salvation Army
- Create a mini food drive for Winnipeg harvest
- A group of students collect their own $$ and create packages for children at Childrens hospital
- Write to soldiers overseas
- Bake cookies for seniors
In the two years that have followed less students have done the babysitting/chore tasks and looked for larger ones. Every year it continues to get better. this year we had one group of girls go and sing carols at a local supermarket. It was amazing. The girls caroling raised $210 in 90 minutes
During this assignment I was interviewd on the radio. The local public broadcaster CBC was having a Pay It Forward Day. They asked me questions about the project and why we do it. Here is the interview.
Some things I remember from the interview are being asked do other teachers do this? I answered... I am not sure? I do know this our parents are proud of their children doing these acts of kindness. Lets just imagine some numbers. In my school division there are:
- 2307 grade 7 students in the Winnipeg School Division
- 2295 grade 8 students in Winnipeg School Division (Sargent Park is only 6%)
- 4602 both in the Winnipeg School Division
- 2535 grade 9 in the Winnipeg School Division
In the audience at the conference where I gave this keynote there were 500 teachers and each with at least 30 students each. That is 15000 students... imagine if .....you get the picture.
If we could plan to do Pay it forward in December 2011 that would really bring to light the notion of Citizenship and the potential of you to the public eye. If you are interested in doing this next year email me and I will start a wiki where we can collect all the stories of kids making a difference in their communities. If you want more information about Pay It Forward you can go to these two websites.
Pay it forward Movement http://www.payitforwardmovement.org/
Pay it forward foundation http://www.payitforwardfoundation.org/
This is a great project for teachers to promote the goodness of teens. Teens can be helpful, fantastic and amazing. These are the stories we need to get out not the ones the news shows often of teens violence and apathy.
This is the first step. The students get into the “Mood” by doing this act of Kindness. This is the first responsibility that brings about better citizenship. Doing good things just BECAUSE. Not for money or attention just because it is right to help others who need help. This activity bridges nicely into the second project.... 25 cents a day.