Students understand that caring — including the virtues of compassion, kindness, benevolence, altruism, charity, generosity, and sharing — is the heart of ethics and they strive to demonstrate a concern for the well-being of others by displaying compassion for those in pain or need by providing support in the form of donations and/or personal service.
I will be a better student if I act on the following beliefs. I can
- show care and concern for others.
- be kind and considerate even when others are not.
- help find a way to help others.
- show concern for others’ well–being.
- act compassionately and with empathy.
- be willing to show mercy and forgiveness.
- Be engaged in service–based projects.
- Write a thank-you note to someone in your community who did something very caring.
- Write a thank-you note to a historical figure, in terms of nonfiction or biographies they have read as part of the curriculum. An example would be Florence Nightingale, to thank her for what she did.
- Write about a real or imagined experience in which they performed a random act of caring and the results it produced.
- Develop a list of dos and don’ts for caring behavior. What happens when people live in accordance with these guidelines? What happens when they don’t? In what ways do caring and uncaring behavior affect our school?
- Brainstorm ways to make the school environment more caring. Create a list of recommendations and then place it in the school newspaper or on a poster.
- Create two headings: Caring and Uncaring. List examples underneath each heading. Then discuss what kinds of efforts could be taken to move all of the items from the Uncaring column into the Caring column.
- Write a critique of an uncaring character from a story they have read, suggesting how he or she could have been a more caring person.
- Imagine that they have just inherited $20,000, and they want to spend it charitably. What would they do with it, and why? What effect would it have on the people they would be helping?
- “People often forget what we say and usually what we do, but they always remember how we made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
- “Wise sayings often fall on barren ground, but a kind word is never thrown away.” – Sir Arthur Helps
- “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” – Oscar Wilde
- “Kindness is loving people more than they deserve.” – Joseph Joubert
- “Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as you ever can.” – John Wesley
- “I expect to pass through the world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness I can show to any creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer it, for I shall not pass this way again.” – Stephen Grellet
- “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop
- “There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” – Edith Wharton
- “Real generosity is doing something nice for someone who will never find out.” – Frank A. Clark
Learning Objective: To realize what we say and do makes a difference
Materials: Bowls half full of water; small packets of pepper; sugar packets; pieces of soap
- Put a small bowl half full of water on each table, two packets of pepper, a packet of sugar, and a piece of soap.
- Ask students to sprinkle the pepper liberally on the water. The pepper represents all the people with whom you interact – family, friends, neighbors, teachers, other students, etc. How we get along with these people depends on what we do and say when we are with them. Talk about the power of words and actions and how they can be respectful or hurtful, rude, or unkind.
- The soap represents hurtful, rude words. Ask students to place and hold the soap in the middle of the pepper. Within three seconds, they are to pull the soap out of the bowl. The soap will repel the pepper and make it move to the sides of the bowl. Relate this illustration to what happens in life with people to whom we are hurtful or unkind.
- Next, have students pour the sugar in the center of the water. The pepper will move towards the sugar. Again, relate this to real life and how others react when we are kind and caring by words and actions.
Process and Reflection:
- What is said that can be considered rude, demeaning, hurtful, or uncaring?
- “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Is this true? Explain your position.
- Why do some flakes of pepper remain on the outer edge of the bowl? What does that represent? (What has been said, may have a lasting effect).
- What happens in life with people to whom we are hurtful or unkind?
- What would our class be like if everyone was aware of the impact of hurtful words?
- What would our school be like if we all were aware and concerned about what it is that we say to others?
- What conclusions can you draw from this activity?
The pepper floats on the surface of the water due to the high surface tension that hydrogen bonds have in water molecules. The piece of soap breaks those hydrogen bonds very easily and as a result, the pepper moves away due to the fact it is still on the surface of the water molecules. Hydrogen bonds break very easily as well as reforms easily. This is why the soap can only be added to the water for a few seconds for this to work because the hydrogen bonds will re-bond together.
Learning Objective: To learn what we say can have a lasting impact on others
Materials: Sheet of red construction paper cut into the shape of a heart
- Hold up a large red construction paper heart.
- Ask students to share words they have heard said which are hurtful and unkind. As each word or phrase is shared, fold down a piece of the heart until it is folded into a small shape. This is how we feel when we have been hurt by the words and actions of others.
- Then, ask students to share words that might be said that are kind and encouraging. As each is shared, unfold a piece of the heart until it is back in shape. Reiterate that we can say encouraging things that make others feel better.
- Ask them what they still see on the heart – the wrinkles or scars that are left. Even if we say we are sorry, we can still leave lasting scars as a result of hurtful words.
Process and Reflection:
- What did the red heart represent and what made changes in its appearance?
- How do you feel when someone says hurtful or unkind things to you?
- What are the most uncaring words that you have ever heard?
- What are the most caring words you have heard someone say?
- Do words using social media have a similar impact? Why or why not?
- Can you think of a teacher you have had that was kind and nurturing? How did it feel to be in that person’s room? Then think of a teacher they were pretty sure didn’t care about you. What was it like to be in that teacher’s room?
- Do you remember what others say to you? Why or why not?
- What do you do to control your language when talking with others?
- What can you do if you see someone else being bullied either physically or verbally?
Teenagers Lead the Way by Michael Josephson
Olivia Gardner was a sixth-grader in Northern California when she suffered an epileptic seizure in front of her classmates. Immediately, the name–calling began. The hallway insults and ridicule – freak, retard, weirdo – escalated into cyberbullying as a few nasty students set up an “Olivia Haters” website. One student dragged her backpack through the mud, and another whispered “Die Olivia” in her ear. The taunting was so bold that her tormentors distributed and wore “I Hate Olivia” bracelets.
Neither her parents nor school officials were able to shield Olivia from this sadistic abuse. Even changing schools didn’t help. The bullying followed her through two other schools until her parents decided home school was the only option.
Like many teenagers subjected to extreme bullying, Olivia seriously contemplated suicide. Olivia was not a weak girl and she had the love and support of her family, but relentless cruelty inflicted by mean–spirited teenagers and condoned by a much larger group, simply wore her down, leaving her feeling helpless and hopeless.
Fortunately, this is only part one of Olivia’s story. Part two is more uplifting.
A story in a local newspaper about Olivia’s ordeal caught the attention of two sisters – Emily and Sarah Buder, then 15 and 17 years old. The sisters never met Olivia, but their sense of compassion and justice ignited a desire to offer her personal support so they asked friends to join them in writing nice letters to Olivia to lift her spirits. This genuine gesture of compassion set off a chain reaction of support, encouragement, and love that ended in thousands of letters to Olivia, a worldwide anti-bullying movement, and a successful book, Letters to Olivia, edited by Olivia and her newfound friends – the Buder sisters.
This is more than a story about the power of compassion; it’s a powerful case study about the nature of leadership and the power of young people to make a difference. Don’t ever underestimate the difference you can make when you pursue your values with passion.
What are Caring and Thoughtfulness?
Being kind and thoughtful means making ourselves aware of the needs and feelings of others and then taking action to help them. It means taking the time to stop thinking about ourselves, to put the spotlight on somebody else’s needs, and to think “What can I do to make that person’s life a little better or easier?”
Sometimes we can’t do anything to solve somebody’s particular problem but just the act of showing concern and compassion can help to comfort them and make a difference. For example, your friend might be worried or sad about something that is happening at home. Even though you cannot solve that problem you can spend some time listening to your friend’s worries and supporting them as much as possible.
Caring and being thoughtful means letting things matter to us; not just for people that we know but also people that we have never met before. It means that we also value the needs and well-being of animals and the environment. Caring means that we have a concern when we see problems and unhappiness and wanting to help; from very simple gestures like buddying with a new pupil at school right through to spending your free time as a volunteer to help a good cause.
So why should we be kind and thoughtful to others?
One ENORMOUS benefit of doing so is that it encourages other people to act in the same way. We can’t put it any better than the famous American pilot Amelia Earhart who once said:
“No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind of action leads to another. A good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.”
So – like a domino effect – we find that a simple act of kindness creates another act of kindness which creates another and another and another ……. and before you know it the world is a better place because everybody is taking the time to care about everybody else.
As you start to look around and deliberately look for chances to be kind, thoughtful, and helpful you will be amazed at how many opportunities there really are. Start with the small things like holding a door open for somebody, visiting a lonely relative, offering to help with somebody else’s task, or offer for somebody to step in front of you in a queue. Do it with a smile and you’ll be amazed at how easily you can make other people smile whilst setting a good example for others to follow.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]