One of the goals for my ESL classes was to help foster kindness in their classes, and their culture. This was my thought before I came to the Cay to teach. Once I was actually here teaching I realized it was imperative to change the culture of fighting and anger.
I asked a few people to translate the concept of random acts of kindness to my classes. The translators and the kids looked at me as though I was an alien ( a look I get quite often). It turns out that translating a concept is not an easy thing to do. Yet, as we always seem to do, we go through it with hand gestures, examples and a ton of silly charades. We started with a kindness jar which the kids pick out of to find different acts of kindness to do throughout the day and report on it in the next class. Things they have to do range from helping someone, giving compliments, smiling at everyone, cleaning the class room and playing with someone new at school, but I found most of the kids were just doing it with their mom or dad, which is great but I wanted them to think outside of their home as well as in their home.
So, this week we started by making signs in English or English and Spanish, drawing pictures and hanging them all over town for people to see.
I was so moved by what some of the kids wrote, and how creative they were. They were also so proud, running to show the other teacher, and showing their parents, or hanging the signs on their house, or their parents stores. They started out being very shy about it, but once they got to pick the spot to hang their note and saw it hanging up they were full of pride and excitement.
Unfortunately when we left school 45 minutes later I noticed many of them had been torn down. I immediately felt disappointed and sad, but then realized two things.
1. At least about a quarter of the signs were still hanging which was more than when we started this morning.
2. The lesson, the feeling of pride, and the laughter with the kids was really what was important. As long as they experience the feeling of being kind, that is what it is about.
The joy, the laughter, and the experience for me, were priceless. It is another example of how much more you get from experiences than things in life. There is no item I have bought that has given me the joy, the memories and the fulfillment of this and all of my experiences at the school. It was a connection of love, kindness and joy. You can not buy that, you can not substitute anything for it.