Kindness Counts

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Kindness Counts

The importance of daily kindness is oftentimes not considered in today’s society. (Photo Courtesy of Shannon Forehand).

The importance of daily kindness is oftentimes not considered in today’s society. (Photo Courtesy of Shannon Forehand).

The importance of daily kindness is oftentimes not considered in today’s society. (Photo Courtesy of Shannon Forehand).

The importance of daily kindness is oftentimes not considered in today’s society. (Photo Courtesy of Shannon Forehand).

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Schools are constantly fighting a recurring issue: bullying. Whether it manifests itself as physical harm, which has become less common, or as cyberbullying, it is becoming a larger issue. Many schools choose to hold anti-bullying campaigns in order to combat this; Brashier, however, is choosing to do something more. Instead of choosing to criticize wrong behavior, Brashier is choosing to advocate being kind during what has been dubbed Kindness Counts Week.

“Instead of communicating what you’re doing is wrong, saying, ‘hey don’t do that. It’s not right.’ and setting a negative example, the school wanted to be proactive and campaign for what should exist, and celebrate what is good. What we’re campaigning for is kindness, which is the opposite of bullying. If you’re being kind, you can’t be bullying. We’re replacing the problem with the solution,” says art teacher Shannon Forehand.

Being kind is promoted in schools occasionally, but Brashier’s approach, in hopes of making kindness a regular occurrence, is to host after-school activities in order to connect students. These activities are directly after school and cost the students nothing. The three main events that students can sign up for are an ice cream social, a yoga class, and painting rocks. The week will also include an assembly on Friday. Along with this, two trees are being planted in the front and back commons as a tribute to Mr. Kessinger.

“I’m excited [about] trees in the commons, and I think the activities will help students connect and collaborate. Who doesn’t like ice cream?” says freshman Jessalyn Padilla.

The week also serves to memorialize the kindness shown by the late David Kessinger, who unfortunately passed away just before the beginning of the school year. Kessinger believed in the kindness of people as a way of life, and his efforts will not soon be forgotten.

“[Kindness Counts] says a lot about the legacy that [Kessinger] left on the school. If he wasn’t involved, we wouldn’t be doing this. He set a good example for the administration, students, and anyone else. Kindness Counts is something that I want [the school] to continue for years to come. I want this to last and for it to be something we really think about daily,” says senior Will Trone.

Each event has some level of kind thought behind it. The variety of events and ideas allow students to practice kindness however they choose. Students will be able to practice what is being preached during them.

“The ice cream social shows outward kindness by allowing people to interact socially with people who you normally don’t get to talk to. The yoga is internal — the mindfulness of being kind to yourself. With the rocks, you can spread your message where your kindness can be spread to people that you might not ever meet. And the assembly is a celebration of all kinds of kindness,” says Forehand.

The events are double-pronged: they are a fun time to enjoy with friends, but they are also an opportunity to meet new people as well. Each event is free, and all that is required of the students is to sign up beforehand and show up.

“I think the events are great! I love the fact that they are all promoting kindness, and in memory of Mr. Kessinger as well! I’m most excited [about] yoga! I love yoga and I haven’t been able to go to a class lately. I heard that Mr. Kessinger’s wife might be teaching the class, which would be nice since Mr. Kessinger always had a yoga class once a week,” says junior Angel Sarmiento.

The week emphasizes the daily importance of kindness. Something that, with constant stress and work, can be hard to remember to practice.

“It’s important that [kindness] exists on a daily level. Daily kindness achieves effective change. If you practice it, you prove to people that they are worth being kind to. People might not remember what you said or did, but they will remember how it made them feel,” says Forehand.

Does kindness count though? Studies done in Great Britain suggest that kindness and happiness are intrinsically linked. Being happy makes you kinder, and being kind makes you happier.

“I believe kindness does count. If people aren’t kind or courteous, there wouldn’t be a sense of connectedness. There wouldn’t be a sense of sincerity in society. Showing kindness shows other people your character and sets a good precedent,” says Padilla.

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