BLUE EARTH - February is National Kindness Month, so Blue Earth Area Middle School students are having fun with it.
"It's always good to teach kids to be kind and to think of what they can do to be kind to others; really think about it," said Tami Armstrong, school social worker.
This week has been Random Acts of Kindness Week, with each day designated differently:
CRAZY?FOR KINDNESS?— Cooper Amundson, Jack Frundt, Madison Glanzman and Rachel Goette get into Crazy for Kindness Day, when students could wear mismatched clothes at Blue Earth Area Middle School. This week is Random Acts of Kindness Week and February is National Kindness Month.
o Dream of Kindness Day: the students could come to school in their pajamas.
o Powered by Kindness: dress up like your favorite teacher.
o Peace, Love and Kindness: hippy day.
o Crazy for Kindness: kids could wear crazy, mismatched clothes.
Students aren't in school for Valentine's Day.
"This week, we challenged the kids: how many random acts of kindness can you do," Armstrong said.
In Morning Meeting, they have a tally sheet. As students perform each act of kindness, they can check it off.
"It can be as simple as smiling at someone, instead of walking by," Armstrong said. "The more that you do those things, the more it will become a natural reaction."
Staff is putting a special emphasis on communicating with students this month "about bullying and how to stand up to bullying and why it's important to be kind," Armstrong said.
But it's not the only time they try to get the kids to think about kindness. Students are reminded throughout the year to work together as a team, respect each other and take part in activities, such as Service Learning Day each spring, that reinforce the message.
"Character-building through the whole year," Armstrong called it.
Practice cements the message and Armstrong said parents can remind kids at home to keep up the good work.
"It's easy for them to say the same thing," she said. "'What did you do that was nice, did you remember to say 'Thank you?' Re-enforce those things; that would be helpful.
"Just have a conversation with your kid about it," she added. "What does it mean to be kind and how would you feel if that was done to you?"
Being kind is about more than minding your manners, Armstrong pointed out.
"[Students] take away that helping people matters. It could change someone's life. If they're really down, they can realize, 'I have a friend.' Lots of things can make a big difference," Armstrong said.
She showed students a clip of the movie "Pay It Forward" to illustrate the impact.
"He set a goal to pay it forward to three people," Armstrong said. "All they had to do was pay it forward to three people. How kinder would this world be if everyone would pay it forward."