Kindness is something our school tries to spread through teacher appreciation letters, SGA presentations and Sources of Strength activities. It might seem a bit overemphasized by adults, but kindness is important and worthwhile. Most students have felt awkward, uncomfortable or insecure at some point in high school, which is not surprising considering high school can be a stressful and unpleasant place to be. That’s why it is so important for students to be kind to one another.
In a competitive school, it’s easy for students to become upset or jealous with each other, leading to unkind words and rumors. Although this response might be natural, it’s not right. Kindness is something that’s essential to any healthy community, and the school community is no exception to this rule. Yes, I know that waving to someone in the hallway or saying hi to a teacher when you happen to see them outside of school may seem weird, but give it a try.
Kindness has many proven scientific benefits. A few benefits cited by the “Random Acts of Kindness” website include increased energy and lifespan, and decreased stress, anxiety, blood pressure and pain. According The Huffington Post, kindness is also contagious. When we witness an act of kindness, we experience “moral elevation,” which makes us want to be kind to others as well.
High school is a stressful place, but if we all do our best to be kind to one another through practical everyday actions (i.e. a smile, wave, or compliment) we can transform our community into a happier place. There are certainly days when you feel really burnt out and can’t bring yourself to go the extra mile, and that’s OK. The important part is to spread kindness whenever you can. If enough people do this, you’ll be uplifted by others when you’re down and vice versa.
One practical way to be kind is to write thank-you notes to your teachers. Although we write brief appreciation letters about twice a year, we usually only write to one of our teachers. Since the school community is made up of two main groups, students and teachers, spreading kindness across these groups can help strengthen our community. Consider writing thank you notes at the end of a semester if you will have different teachers next semester, or at the end of the school year. Doing so is a great way to spread kindness to those who help you grow academically (and maybe personally) every day.
Another way to spread kindness is to be a caring friend and peer. Very few people are friends with everyone in their grade, but we can all do our part to reach out and support each other. Taking the time to catch up with a friend or hear them express their frustrations is a way you can be a kind friend. If everyone offers support to those close to them, the overall school community will also be uplifted and become a more pleasant place to be for all of us.
Practicing kindness is not easy. It can be tiring, or make you feel awkward, but give it a try. In a time where negativity often prevails, we each have the ability to choose how we impact our community. I hope you will choose to be a kind, uplifting person who contributes positively to every community you’re a part of.