The Blog of Jake Kelfer
With school starting up and a need for us to be kinder to each other, I decided to take the conversation to the streets and see what the experts had to say. This comes after several discussions with deans and educators repeatedly taking about the continuous rise of mental health issues and the increasing rates of loneliness in today’s society.
Plus, knowing that random acts of kindness increases happiness and well-being, I decided this was a great topic to explore to see if we could learn something that might help.
I went around and asked some speakers, kindness experts, and teachers, "What’s one way we can encourage kindness in schools and the workplace?"
Kyle Willkom - @kylewillkom
"I think kindness has become less about getting buy-in and more about practice. Teachers, managers, principals, bosses, etc. should spend less time saying “be kind to others,” and spend more time saying, “here are opportunities to practice kindness.” People gravitate towards actionable steps, events, challenges, and activities. Giving vague reminders about kindness just doesn’t make the impact action-oriented practice can create."
Houston Kraft - @houstonkraft
"One of our core beliefs at CharacterStrong is that 'we make time for that which we believe is important.' The schools and organizations that build kindness into their culture have the same amount of time as everyone else (we are all moving 1 million miles per hour in a culture that insists on productivity!). The most kind people and groups simply make time for kindness. In a school setting, this is setting aside time at least once a week to engage in our CharacterDare process where students and staff are given challenges to put things like respect, forgiveness, and kindness into real life practice. In organizations, this looks like choosing to start meetings with gratitude or affirmations. It looks like putting some of your profits aside for creating powerful moments or scholarships or philanthropic pursuits. And, more than anything, it looks like valuing the people around you and making sure you prioritize caring for yourself and others before you get to the bottom line."
Geoff McLachlan - @geoffreymclachlan
“Make kindness intentional. It’s really that simple."
Heidi Jurging - @heidilovessnow
"We can encourage kindness by sharing words of encouragement. Personally, I push myself to always say hello (with a smile) to anyone I pass in the hallway, whether I know them or not. A couple student organizations have done a couple different things to help create a welcoming environment in which students could build connections with others.
1. We did a pay-it-forward bulletin board on which students could post a positive affirmation for someone else to take when they needed it! Even if students didn’t take them, it created positivity in the school.
2. We also recently created positive affirmations and posted one on every single locker in the school (for suicide prevention awareness week) to remind students that they matter!"
John Norlin - @john_norlin
“We make time for that which is most important. People need both ideas on what it looks like to put kindness into action as well as opportunities to practice it. The key to fluency is repetition.”
Terry D'Imperio - @tdimperio
"Show up, Pay attention and make a positive contribution. Doing all of these shows kindness and helps others to be the best version of themselves."
Esteban Gast - @realestebangast
"My favorite thing to encourage people to do in schools is when they walk past someone make eye contact and smile. I think it’s super small but it's really powerful. If you think about it, walking past someone and saying nothing / pretending they’re not there is like taking away someone’s humanity. You’re saying 'psshhh might as well be an empty hallway.' So, something small, and yes it may be awkward, is just saying/mumbling/head-nodding hi to someone when you walk past them in the hallways. The schools and places that have felt the most comfortable and welcoming to me are the places where people say hi and acknowledge that hey, I’m a human being walking there!”
James Layman - @jsl122884
"It’s the small things over and over and over again that matter. People texting you and checking in on you. People continuously saying hi. It’s the little things you can do daily."
Elevate in Action:
I am a motivational speaker on a mission to inspire people to achieve their own definition of success and reach the highest level of personal success and happiness.