As one school year slowly winds down — and another one inevitably approaches quite quickly — I’m thinking a lot about the Character Education Partnership‘s 21st Annual National Forum, a much-anticipated event for me each year. Not only will this next celebration be special because it’s another chance to honor some of our nation’s finest schools of character, but it will be extraordinary for me because I’ve been invited to deliver the kickoff keynote address.
As I plan and prepare, I’m pondering exactly what it is that I want my audience to not only know, but feel, as I launch them into their conference experience and ultimately back into their schools and communities.
My topic is one that I wrote about last December and one that has intrigued me ever since: Kindness Is the Real Global Warming!
My reflections will center around people in this world who, when they enter a room, change the climate for good. You probably know exactly whom I’m referring to, though I’ve probably never met them: someone whose eyes seem to instantly connect you to their world, someone whose smile brightens up the room, someone whose heartlight is always glowing. I’ve come to revere these inviting souls as Climate Changers. They are the people who warm our world — in a very good way.
They inspire others with their endless enthusiasm for life, their unbridled verve. It’s their friendly demeanor and nurturing ways that connect them to others. And it’s their persistence, perseverance, resilience and grit that keep all of us going when our passion starts to wane.
Imagine the global implications of that kind of kindness gone viral. Family feuds finished. Neighbors acting neighborly. Friends helping foes. Acts of kindness planned rather than left to chance, their warmth perpetrating peace.
Just as I will challenge conference participants, I encourage you to be a Climate Changer. Make kindness contagious. Smile at someone. Embrace them. Offer your help. Show up unexpectedly or surprise someone with a friendly call. Sing someone a song. Mentor someone. Plant a tree or a giving garden. Send an affirming text. Just because. Glitter your globe with kindness and then bask in the glow of a truly wonderful climate change.