This past week two of our team members lost loved ones; a dad and a brother passed. As always, the people at Ryzex rallied with care and compassion. When the bigger things happen our team closes ranks and demonstrates what I call reactive kindness. This is important, but I also want us to work on what I call daily kindness.
The following CNN story by Asieh Namdar underscores the essence of this way of thinking and acting, becoming Superheroes of Kindness.
At one preschool in Missoula, Montana, the students turn into superheroes for a few days each month. These superheroes can’t fly and don’t fight monsters, but they do wear capes.
Instead, they are “Superheroes of Kindness,” and they are learning that they are never too young to make a difference by cleaning up their neighborhood, visiting senior citizen centers, and taking part in other acts of kindness. Kristal Burns, the teacher who pioneered the superhero initiative explains, “One of my most memorable visits was to a senior citizen center. I would ask the kids, ‘Why are we here?’ They would say, ‘To make them smile!’ ‘How are we going to do that?’ ‘We’re going to look at them. We’re going to say ‘Hi.’ At one point, one little girl started crying. When I asked her what was wrong, she looked at me and said, ‘My heart feels so good right now.’ She was so overwhelmed with the power she had. And that’s what she took home with her that day.”
Ms. Burns goes on to say, “Every child has kindness, but like everything else, we need to cultivate and nurture it. If we don’t, kids may not know how to use it. By watering it, feeding it and learning how to carefully keep away weeds that may want to overtake it, we not only allow the kindness inside to grow, but we learn how use it. Showing compassion without thinking of reward brings great strength and inner power. What a gift to foster in our children and humanity.”
Character Move: How about you and I take a lesson from these three year olds and proactively work to demonstrate more kindness daily at work, not just when the bad stuff happens, but every day. We need to water and feed the act of kindness, like Burns emphasizes for three year olds, or we get rusty. And as Burns notes, doing so without expectations of reciprocation or reward generates inner strength and power. And as the management guru Tom Peters notes over and over again… kindness is free! I challenge you to consciously make one proactive act of kindness daily. Write down what you did, and be aware of the reaction.
Character Hall of Fame: I am selecting Ms. Burns as new member of my Character Hall of Fame.
Superheroes of Kindness in the Triangle,