Monday, December 16, 2013

Kindergarten Teacher makes a difference!



ONE News’ brilliant segment ‘Good Sorts’ offers many interviews with people who are helping children at Primary level. A few weeks ago Averil Pierce was nominated as a ‘Good Sort’ who is making a difference within her community as a Kindergarten teacher, turned councillor, turned bus driver. Pierce had a moment of clarity seven years ago after she attended the funeral for a boy of 15 years who had committed suicide. Shocked at how someone could take their own life at that young age, Pierce decided she wanted to “help children have some support before their teenage years” as problems in younger years may affect them in later life. As Primary schools don’t receive funding for counselling Pierce started her own ‘Chat Bus’ school counselling programme completely voluntarily, which she describes as “the best job in the world”. The bus contains toys and drawing activities to interest young children when they come to talk anonymously during class time and teachers can also come to alert her of children who are upset in class. This inspired idea has brought schools a lot of joy and comfort and has developed to now have two buses available to Primary schools. Averil Pierce certainly is a Good Sort!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What random acts of kindness can you personally carry out each day?



Leave a snack for an unsuspecting co-worker or friend.
Share an inspirational story from today's news.
Write positive notes about your family or friends and share them.
Help someone with a chore, unexpectedly.
Make your own card for someone you love.
Write a thank you note to a teacher who inspired you.
Strike up a conversation with someone who looks like they need a friend.
Acknowledge an act of kindness by someone else and thank them.
Create 5 cards with positive messages and leave them in a cafe for someone to discover.
Leave flowers on the doorstep of someone you don't know with a note explaining it is indeed a random act of kindness and run!


Thursday, September 26, 2013

JUST BE THERE

A simple act of Kindness from Beth Fryer
 
Once, many years ago, my Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer and was scheduled for a mastectomy. That morning I attended a university class in which the boyfriend of a good friend was also a student. Most mornings we said hello to one another and that was about it - he would sit with his guy friends, and I usually sat alone. When he entered class that morning, he came and sat next to me. He never mentioned my Mum; never talked about the situation at all...he just sat next to me and chatted a bit. That was the day I learned that sometimes the kindest act is just to be there...and I always remember this as one of the simplest yet most touching acts of kindness I've ever received.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Kindness of Others!

Last night my 11 year old grandson came home from his ukelele session  with a grin from ear to ear. He attends a weekly session from 7pm on a Monday night  for enthusiastic and experienced ukelele enthusiasts. Even though he is the only child in the group he holds his own and has won the admiration of the ladies. Imagine his delight on his birthday to receive a very fabulous tenor ukelele from his parents. Yes, his most treasured possession. His teacher was delighted. However two weeks ago as he lent forward to turn the page of the music his chair tipped forward and he sprawled forward. The ukelele crashed to the ground and when he picked it up there was a huge dent. He returned home - gutted, devastated and some more.

A phone call from his teacher resulted in the ukelele being dropped off at her place. The week passed and last night was Monday - ukelele night - and still no word from the teacher. Off went Toby with his old battered kid's ukelele. 


As he rushed up to me after he got home and thrust his precious ukelele under my nose his answer to my question went like this --
The story goes like this the ukelele got passed from one person in the group to another and everyone did a little bit to help improve the situation and when they had all done something small to improve the situation it went to the very last person and she mounted over the remaining small dent a fabulous quality sticker of a small B&W Tui and hey presto the ukelele was suddenly better than new. 


The pain and disappointment  in Toby's heart was healed by the kindness of others. We all reckon that the Ukelele sings now. Incidentally Toby is also the biggest bird enthusiasts I have met and to have a Tui present on his ukelele was the best thing possible.

Robyn

Introducing Kindness to Children



 

Why not put kindness into the front frame of your setting! Every week the children could have a 'Kindness Meeting'. At this meeting children could make positive statements about children in their setting. Children and teachers could also be encouraged to share what they have witnessed during the week that they consider are 'random acts of kindness'. 

In this way you would be making visible and putting into action that you value kindness in your community. In this way everyone is encouraged to focus on the positive and establish a culture of kindness in your place. 

If you have a 'kindness story' to share, please email me at wendy.lee@elp.co.nz with the story and an image so we can share the joy on our Kindness Blog.
 

Monday, February 25, 2013

How Good It Feels!

The best portion of a good life
is the little nameless
unremembered acts of kindness
and
of love

William Wordsworth

AN ACT OF KINDNESS FOR REFLECTION




Recently a very lovely friend of mine sent me this beautiful book on random acts of kindness. Just reading it brought me considerable joy. I want to share one of the stories and for you to reflect on what might have been your response to this situation...

AN ACT OF KINDNESS CAN SOMETIMES TAKE INCREDIBLE COURAGE.  I was at the country fair with my mother many years ago. I remember it was a very, very hot day and all around us children and parents were melting down. We were walking behind a woman with two small children. The children were crying and whining and the mother  was getting increasingly upset. Finally she started to scream at them to shut them up; then she turned around and struck them both very hard. Just to see this happen right in front of me made me feel like I had been hit as well.

Of course the kids started crying even more and the mother was on the verge of completely loosing control when my mother walked up to her, touched her arm, and said something like, "You poor dear, don't worry, sometimes things just get out of control for a moment". Then my mother offered to take the children over to the ice cream stand, buy them some ice cream, and sit with them while the woman took a little walk to compose herself. She returned about 10 minutes later, thanked my mother, hugged her children, and went on.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

One hour or five minutes how long is your day?


Last night I was at a gathering of friends and family to celebrate my sister, brother and my birthdays.  As always within kiwi gatherings the conversation turned to what we do for employment.  Present were two accounts, a gym trainer, a technician within the kiwifruit industry and a lawn mowing contractor.  Each one of the them were lamenting over the fact that they do not really enjoy their jobs, when I piped up with a, “I love my job.”  “Alright”, Warren said, “it’s unanimous everyone hates their job except Lynn”.  Today I was revisiting some of those conversations in my head and the enormity of it struck me - imagine hating what you do!!!!!!
Sir Ken Robinson  talks about this on the TED videos  http://video.ted.com/talk/podcast/2010/None/SirKenRobinson_2010.mp4.  He says that people “endure it (their jobs) rather than enjoy it and wait for the weekend.  People who love what they do could not imagine doing anything else because they would say  it is who they are.”  He also talks about passion and how when we are doing something we love 1 hour can seem like 5 minutes or if you hate it 5 minutes can seem like 1 hour.  This video is well worth watching particularly if you feel a slight draining of your enthusiasm or passion for what you do.
I can not think of a day in my teaching career either at St Peters Childcare or with ELP that I have not wanted to go to work.  The enjoyment that I get from being around passionate teachers, meeting parents and working alongside children is just part of who I am and, like Sir Ken Robinson said, I could not imagine doing anything else.

The wonderful thing is that within my work I met many teachers who love their jobs and it shows.  Recently I was at Paddington’s in Hamilton. The teachers within the centre ooze enthusiasm and passion.  They want to know more, they want to do more and they love what they are doing.  Marie was describing part of one families day to me -this knowledge I think - this comes out of teachers really deeply knowing their families as she talked about the emotional struggle of parents.  For whatever reason one of the parents had started off their day in a bad space and this may have been compounded by the fact that they had to go to work and leave their precious child in the hands of someone else.  Marie was aware of the anxiety of the mother and the first opportunity she got she took a photo of the child with her cellphone while he was busy engaged in play and sent this to the mother at work with a personal message.  When the mother came in at the end of the day she said to Marie that this kind act took her day from a very low point into a much better place as she relax in the knowledge that her son was having a great day.    Obviously Marie’s passion as a teacher drives her to provide the best care for children and parents.

Passionate teachers will find ways to connect with children and families.  Bronfenbrenner would encourage us, just like Marie did, to care for, support and encourage the carers(parents, whānau) because this will create better outcomes for the children.

   

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

NEW YEARS RESOLUTION


I both look forward to and dread the arrival of the New Year.  Initially I look forward to catching up and celebrating with loved ones, counting down to midnight and the excitement about the year ahead, however, hovering in the background is the prospect of reflecting back on my often failure to achieve last year's resolution and the dread of setting a new one.

This year is going to be different!  Over the Christmas break I had a chance to reread ‘Tuesday’s with Morrie‘ by Mitch Albom.  It’s a wonderful book that had originally been given to me by my brother in a time when I needed inspiration. It's full of wise words from Mitch’s old professor Morrie Schwartz.

Every time I read this book a different quote speaks to me and this time it was this one:

“So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they're chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.” (p.42)

The idea of ‘devoting myself to loving others, the community around me and to creating something that gives me purpose and meaning’ sounded to me like a perfect New Year's resolution.  It wasn’t going to be about loosing the weight I’d recently gained or getting fit by going to the gym 3 times a week, it was going to be about something deeper and more meaningful.

Now no resolution is going to be achieved without setting goals, again something my brother had taught me, so I am in the process of breaking down 2013 into individual months, beside each month I’m placing a goal, which again I break down into smaller tasks and aligning these against each individual week, so that I know exactly how I am going to reach my goal of keeping my New Year's resolution.

My challenge to you is to create your own New Year's resolution for work!  Find your own inspiration to take you past the mundane to something inspirational.  Are you able to discuss developing a goal as a team?  Look at pushing your boundaries, taking on what Carol Dweck calls a ‘growth mindset’.  

"Fixed mindset people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong.

Growth mindset people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities." (Quote from http://mindsetonline.com/whatisit/about/index.html,  Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (2006) Ballantine Books)

Challenge YOURSELF!  Step outside YOUR comfort zone!  Look past just focusing on YOURSELF, then make YOUR plan!  

  I’d like to finish this blog with some more Morrie wisdom.

“As you grow, you learn more. If you stayed as ignorant as you were at twenty-two, you'd always be twenty-two. Aging is not just decay, you know. It's growth. It's more than the negative that you're going to die, it's the positive that you understand you're going to die, and that you live a better life because of it.” (p.117)

Happy New Year
Gillian