Kindness is inspiring. One little bit of exposure to it will make you want to go out and do something kind for somebody else. So let's get to the inspiring!
mrsparkuhlah asked Reddit:
My mother was a teacher. A student once completely made her day, and made up for years of bullying with one thoughtful move. What is an extreme act of kindness you have seen a child or teen commit?
And started the thread with:
Let me explain.
My mother was an English teacher for several years. One day in one of her classes she began a discussion on bullying. This was actually well before bullying became a major topic, but my mom had experienced some bullying in her own life and didn't want to see her student's go through the same thing.
In the discussion she decided to open up and use a real life example. She told the class about how she was a little chubbier when she was in junior high and she had very little friends. Virtually the entire class picked on her.
One day she came back into class from recess and found a note on her desk. It read in bold letters "These people hate you" and around the letters every single student in the classroom signed their name.
Of course, this devastated my mom and she never got over it. She even choked up a little bit while relaying the story to her students.
Well. Apparently the students were listening and took heart to the situation.
The next morning my mom came to school and found on her desk a letter with big bold letters "These people love you" and everyone in class had signed it. I have rarely seen my mom happier. It may not have reversed the damage done by bullying her as a kid, but it was therapeutic for sure.
I thought it was incredibly thoughtful and kind for a highschooler to even think of doing that. I wasn't in that actual class but I found out who took the initiative to write up the letter and get everyone to sign it. He was a great guy and a very popular kid in the school. He later went to West Point.
Do any of you have any stories when someone of a younger age showed some extraordinary thoughtfulness and kindness?
Stories like this always make my day.
A Book By Its Cover
The High school I went to had a large reputation for being a bad school. There was always a running joke to be told about the school from other students from other schools in the district, about drug use and random acts of violence. There was a daycare for students who had children but still wanted to go to school on the ground level. There was one guy in particular who was known for being the baddest mofo in the area. The guy had the full rep, known dealer and gang member, assaulted many people, etc. Anyway, one day our main boys bathroom gets mysteriously set on fire. Most of the school hurries to rush out the doors and to the safe area. This guy, instead, goes into the daycare and with a few other students, helps to push out the cribs and herd the children out of the building. The best 'wow' moment I had was seeing this tattooed gangster skip down the street with two little hands in his palms, singing out at the top of his lungs "we're safe now, we're safe now!"
I work in a middle school and there is this girl that sits by herself at lunch. I was walking with an autistic kid to the cafeteria when he sees her and goes right up to her face and tells her she is fat, ugly and smelly. I was mortified and had to whisk him away. He doesn't know that sometimes what he says hurts people feelings but it was still awful what he did. For a girl in middle school, to have these things said to her, it might have terrible lasting effects on her self esteem for years so I went back to talk with her when I saw another girl (one of the more popular ones) sitting down next to her. She was telling the crying girl that she was very pretty and asking her about herself and that what the autistic kid said to her he was saying everyone that day and shouldn't take it personally.
I spent a week teaching the autistic kid how words make others feel and on the last day took him to apologize to the girl who sat alone. Today however she was not sitting alone but with the girl that consoled her and a few of her friends. She was smiling and laughing. The kid I was with apologized to her and while she just said it was okay the girl that had consoled her stared at him with a scowl. She did an awesome thing and probably changed that girls future forever.
No Questions Asked
I used to volunteer as a Big Buddy, taking a child that lived in a shelter on an outing every week. The buddies usually travel in groups as a safety measure. As we were walking along the platform, we passed by a homeless man and I thought nothing of it.. it is normal to see homeless people on the subway. As we found a good place to wait for the train, one of the little buddies who was about 7, ran over to him and pulled his lunch out of his bag, handing it over to the homeless man. The look on the man's face was priceless. All of the buddies were speechless. I know that most of the little buddies have trouble getting their own lunch together for the outings, I was shocked by this particular kid's selflessness. It was a beautiful moment.
This is probably nothing to you all but a shining moment to me.
I started my teaching career by taking over a classroom in the middle of the year. The class had a sub all year because the actual teacher had a chronic illness and finally quit.
This was an urban middle school so the kids were rough and they hated me anyway because for the first time all year they had to do actual work.
No kids were nice to me.
One day a girl was arguing with me about everything. I wanted to cry. At this point i was still green and was still learning classroom management so I let her (and all the other kids) get the best of me.
She got out a soda and started drinking it but no drinks were allowed. I told her to put it away and she immediately began screaming at me. "This is bullshit, you always picking on me! I get in trouble for everything blah blah blah. And yesterday, Jessica (name changed) had a bottle of water and you didn't say a thing to her!"
Jessica, this big crazy acting girl, immediately stands up and says "Shut your mouth, she wrote me up for the water and I got a detention! You don't know what you're talking about!"
The other girl immediately sat down and put her drink away.
But the thing is, Jessica lied. I didn't even see the water bottle they were talking about, so I never wrote her up and she definitely didn't get a detention. She lied to help me.
I pulled her aside the next morning and asked her about it. She said she had gotten a detention for something else but thought I could use the help so blamed it on me. I gave her some candy. She was a big help the rest of the year.
This just happened this year. A student (5th grade) was telling me how she was on the bus, and another kid started bullying and making fun of her little sister (3rd grade) who was sitting up front. She approached the kid and told her to leave her sister alone, stop being a bully, and just sit down and let everyone ride to school in peace.. The bully tries to be all chummy and says "Oh, sorry, I didn't know she was your sister!" when my student smartly responds "It wouldn't matter if you were picking on my sister, the bus driver, or any other kid on this bus, you don't act like that towards someone and you need to learn that now". I told her that if there were any other problems, she could let me know so I could report it/help her report it, but it was smooth sailing for the rest of the year.
A Little Appreciation
From grades 7-9, I was in a small, 8-student Humanities class. We always pitched in $5 each for Christmas an the end of the year to buy our (awesome) Humanities teacher gift cards for Barnes & Noble or a local restaurant.
In 10th grade we were mainstreamed into AP English (we still saw and did work for our Humanities teacher, just not during full class periods). The regular English was 30ish students and the teacher seemed like he had been being under appreciated by students for many years. Because we were used to doing nice things for nice teachers, in addition to the gift for our Humanities teacher, we asked all 30 kids for $2 each and purchased the same gift cards for the regular English teacher. When he opened that envelope and read the card, he teared up and said he never knew that young people could be so kind.
It's fantastic what a little appreciation and recognition can do for a person.
When my grandmother was about 80 (she's gone now) she was outside shoveling snow from the driveway. She was a hardy woman, but honestly!! The teen boy across the street and asked what in the world she was doing! She said she was having company and was clearing the drive. He took the shovel from her and said he'd finish. When she told me she said "he wouldn't even take any money" this kid continued to shovel her drive all winter and raked in the fall without expecting a thing in return. Grandma once told me that when she went out to clean the lawn chairs they were already done. "I guess my Robbie did it" Grandma gave him little gifts now and then, but he never would take any pay, including from my mom who called to thank him.
My mom works as a cashier in the cafeteria of a local private highschool, and since she is out there at every lunch and there is only one cashier she almost knows everyone, or at least recognizes them all and seems to be very friendly with them as the students are very friendly to my mom.
About two and half years ago my mom practically got t-boned going through and intersection and the guy who hit her was going at least 45 mph, she ended up coming home right after but ended up getting really bad pains so my dad took her to the hospital and it turns out she had a ruptured spleen. Luckily it wasn't serious enough to need operation but she was in the ICU for two or three days and remained in the hospital for another four to five days. After she came home she was on bed rest for practically a month, and feeling bad that I had to go back to school the day after she came home I made sure to call her almost everyday to keep her company while my dad and sisters were at work all day.
One day when I called her she said that she had to gone in to work to let them know she was going to be coming back in a couple days. Well one of the workers there proceeded to to take her out while one of the lunches was going on and said to everyone that my mom was going to be coming back soon. My mom then told me that practically everyone in the cafeteria proceeded to cheer and applaud her. I couldn't help but tear up to the fact that they had that much respect for her.
During 7th grade and 8th grade, I was so depressed that I had to resort to playing WoW to make myself happy. This in turn basically make me fail straight through middle school.
In 7th grade, two teachers called my parents for a conference to talk about how I was doing. Both teachers did not think lowly of my parents since they knew something was up that had nothing to do with their parenting. They told me that I should not worry at all about what is happening now since I was so young and that I was a bright child. One teacher specifically told me a quote his father told him when he was in the same position I was:
"When I was your age, my father had to dig holes for crops by a shovel. Your generation now has machines that do that. Always think about how the future will be like and look forward to it and don't let the present keep you down. Work hard and maybe one day you invent the next invention that will make it easier for humans like a plow pushed by a rocket ship driven by computers."
That quote seemed really idiotic to me, and may seem dumb to a lot of you, but it really put the idea in my head that teachers actually cared about their students and so did my parents. My depression didn't stop until I was a junior in HS and then this realization hit me.
Both teachers gave me free B's to keep my spirits up and tried very hard to keep me motivated.
Once I was accepted to the United States Air Force Academy, I wrote both of them letters with a picture of me graduating with scholarships and a Colonel shaking my hand for being accepted to USAFA. Told them thanks and that I did straightened out over the years and that their help was not a lost cause.
Eh, probably a lackluster story but that's my own personal story.
This is something that I did, though I didn't realize what an effect it had on my teacher until she contacted me recently.
When I was in first grade my teacher, Ms. Thomas, dismissed us to lunch. I got up with my peers but was confused as to why my teacher wasn't escorting us to the cafeteria; it was common practice for all of the staff to do this. I looked back at her and began to ask if she was coming, but I noticed that she was about to cry. Everyone had left, so I boldly walked up to her, gave her the biggest bear hug I could, and said, "Everything will be okay." This made her cry harder, but she pulled me up on her lap and rubbed my back.
Eventually I ran off to lunch, not really understanding how much my words affected her. She moved to Indiana at some point and I didn't think of that for years. However, I received an email from her recently. She told me that she was getting remarried and had been thinking about the one time where I comforted her during her divorce. I had absolutely no idea that she was going through that (I don't think I even knew what a divorce was when I was seven), and I was moved by how she remembered an incident that happened nearly ten years prior. I can't believe that me, a naive little girl, had left such an impact on her.
I cried. What a sweet, sweet woman.
Teacher here. During my first year of teaching, I was at a very poor school in a very rough urban neighborhood. I'm from Appalachia, so it was difficult.
We were reading Things Fall Apart in my senior English class, and I was trying my best to make it relevant, but I'll admit, it was my first year teaching and I was in an environment that was completely foreign to me. While I had done a ton of research and work to do my best to relate to my students and to be effective, I was still far from my best.
One day was particularly rough, as many students decided to question me loudly and rudely in class. I tried to go with the flow, but the majority of the class basically decided to be loud and not let me teach class that day. It was awful. They then preceded to berate me and cuss at me for the rest of class.
After the period was over, one solitary student came to my desk. She said "Mr. $(#*#&$(#, I didn't understand this book at first, but after listening to you and talking with you, I really like it, and I even understand why we're reading it."
We then had a ten minute conversation about the themes of the book. This was very significant, as this girl was popular and risked a huge amount of social standing and respect by having this conversation with me. After she left to go to softball practice, I basically sat down in the corner of my room, overcome with gratitude, knowing that even though that day was rough, I had chosen the right profession for me.
Also, in case anyone was wondering, I am in my 4th year now, and things are much, much better. Those days don't happen anymore, as I do not lose control.
I was driving my 14 year old son to his grandma's so she could take him shopping for his birthday present. She had already told him she would get him the video game he wanted, so he was very anxious to get there. As we were leaving our neighborhood, we passed a car that had been soaped and written on. On the paint was written 'Why don't you kill yourself?'
I mentioned how sad it was when my son suddenly asks if Grandma would care if we were late and could we run by the house. I asked if he forgot something. Nope, he wanted to get cleaning supplies and fix the car. The thought had never crossed my mind.
We went home, got cleaning stuff and took 30 minutes to clean the poor girl's car. He said he thought it was sad that he was scared if being caught and he felt we were doing something bad. We couldn't get all the writing off the paint, but it was faded to being mostly unreadable.
We didn't know the girl, my son had to delay getting something he really wanted, and no one ever knew what he had done. I was, and am, very proud of my boy for being so kind without a known reward.
I'm an English teacher in a foreign country, so I have a few stories of kids just being awesome. One of my first days of being in the classroom (jr high), I had no idea what I was really doing, so I was just doing a self introduction in front of the class. One kid was being a dick, and the teacher that I taught with (I didn't teach alone at the time) got mad at the kid and took him out of the classroom. There I was standing by myself in front of a bunch of jr high kids not knowing what to do. It was question time for me as the foreigner, and while nobody was raising their hands, one girl was like "hey, lets ask him questions c'mon guys, i feel bad for our new teacher". So the students, while they could have easily pretty much done nothing, or goofed off and I would have been powerless to do anything (again, note that it was my 2nd day or so, and I had no formal training), they decided to ask questions and acted like great students instead of taking advantage of the situation. At the time, I didn't really understand how much of a help that was, but looking back on it now, I really appreciate that.
I've since been transferred to teaching at an elementary school. I brought the kids Halloween candy one year. About a week later, I was walking around outside the school, and these two 1st grade girls come up to me, hand me these notes and then run away. They drew family pictures, included me in their family pictures, and wrote thank you notes for the candy that I gave them. They weren't asked to do it, they decided to do it on their own. They might not have thought much of it, but I really appreciate the fact that they wrote me a thank you note for a small piece of candy during their free time.
Anyways, onto random acts of kindness done by students for other students: The school went on a field trip to a local park for a "lets play together nicely" field trip. They paired the grades and went to different places. The 6th and 1st graders were paired together. There was one 1st grade boy whose in special ed. He's maybe a little OCD, has some emotional issues, and is very ADHD. So this special ed boy, instead of wanting to play jump rope, soccer, tag, etc, wanted to pretend he was a train conductor. So all the kids in his group, without arguing or anything, all walked around randomly using a long jump rope and creating a line while letting the special ed kid lead them wherever he wanted to go. They could have easily ignored him, but they decided to play what this kid wanted to play for most of the time they were at the park, and the little special ed kid loved it.
Also, there was one incident with a quiet 3rd grade girl who wasn't really good at dealing with other kids her age. Her and a boy got into a tussle or something over a ball, and she ended up crying cause he pulled her zipper and it choked her a bit or something. It didn't seem to have hurt her that bad, but she obviously has some other issues going on. Anyways, so when she comes back to the classroom during recess, one of the more popular girls is there, and when she sees the not-so-popular quiet girl visibly upset, she goes over and instead of sticking to her popular friends, shes asking the other girl if shes ok, and if she wants to play anything. The quiet girl says no, but she just tells her that when she feels better, they should play later. That sort of thing made me feel really good to see. While the quiet girl didn't accept the invitation, having the popular girl offer to play with her and try to make her feel better was one of the nicest things a kid can do at that age. Later in the day, I saw them playing together or something, which was really nice.
Sorry if this is long and incoherent. I have more stories of niceness (especially to me, kids are really thoughtful sometimes), but unfortunately there are more stories that stick out to me of kids being mean to other kids than there are of kids being nice to other kids.
The Best Friends
I volunteered at a summer came for kids from low-income families (ages 8-10). A lot of the kids had troubled home situations, and one kid in particular had a drug-dealing dad who had been in prison for most of the kid's life and a mom who left him home alone a lot. We'll call him Bobby. This kid was definitely a challenge, behaviorally. He knew could curse like a sailor, tended to be a bit of a bully, was physically violent, and was usually the instigator of most problematic situations. One year there was another kid at camp who was overweight and mildly mentally disabled, Drew, let's say.. Predicting a potential disaster, we all kind of agreed to keep Bobby away from Drew. While walking from one activity to another one day, Bobby and Drew ended up in the same cluster of kids. A couple of us approached the group to intermediate if anything happened. What actually went down was this: Drew walks straight up to Bobby and grabs his hand as they are walking. Almost immediately the other kids start mocking him, sure that Bobby is going to react negatively. Instead, Bobby keeps Drew's hand in his, looks at the other kids and goes, "Hey, shut up, man! He's cool..." He then put his arm around him. For the rest of the week, the two were inseparable. We saw an amazing improvement in Bobby's behavior, and Drew became one of the most popular kids at camp.
I hope this doesn't come off as "tooting my own horn" but when I was in high school we had this one genius-level history teacher, he'd been offered many jobs at prestigious colleges etc. but still chose to stay at our school so we could benefit from his knowledge. Well no one else knew this I guess, or if they did they didn't care. They all used to pick on him to his face and ask why he always wore suits when all the other teachers just wore regular clothes. The usual asshole high schooler shit. Anyway, I had overheard from another teacher that his birthday was coming up, so my best friend and I decided that someone had to let him know we appreciated him being there so we made him a cake with the frosting in the shape of a map of the world (he loved maps) and brought it in early to his room with a few other students and sang him happy birthday and gave him balloons and a card signed by all the not-assholes. He looked like he was going to cry and said "my family didn't even remember...thank you!" Then as an extra bonus, for class he let us just eat cake and watch a movie and even the a**holes wished him a happy birthday!
My senior year of high school - I had already been accepted to college and was taking 'easy' classes just to waste time till graduation. I was very shy and had no backbone whatsoever, which made me an easy target with the bullies. In one of my classes, I was being bullied by two football players. They were much bigger than me, so I felt like I couldn't do anything to stop it (I was always told to 'walk away' or 'just ignore it' - worst advice ever, btw). Over a period of a couple months, the bullying wouldn't stop. I got to my breaking point and decided to transfer out of the class, but my guidance counselor wouldn't let me. I went to the assistant principal, who also wouldn't let me transfer out of the class. I was getting frustrated and considered not even showing up to the class anymore (it was my early morning class and I didn't need it to graduate). After a few weeks of begging and pleading and unreturned phone calls to the school from my mother, I was eventually called down to the principal's office who said he heard about my dilemma and decided to let me transfer out of the class.
Turns out that one of the most popular kids in school, who I never really even talked to, overheard me venting about it to a friend of mine. He went to the principal. I had no idea.
Looking back, I really appreciate what he did. It also made me realize how much of a pansy I was and convinced me to stand up for myself every now and then.
There was this kid who my mum was paid to look after because she behaved so badly during class (she was a smart kid but from a broken home, which was what messed her up). She was on all these lists etc for bad children and the kid was constantly told she was this bad kid and was treated like a criminal by all the staff at the school she was in. I went in to help one Christmas and there was another little girl who had some severe problems socalising. Her dad had killed himself and it left some horrible scars. I watched the girl who was considered the worst kid in the school help this little girl. She made sure no one picked on her, she always had a partner and was never left out of anything. The best part was when this little girl looked at me quickly and smiled before looking away. She never did that with strangers, if she got a new teacher, it would take her weeks to acknowledge their existence, but she acknowledged me. The other teachers saw it as well and were amazed.
I had a very rough year in 8th grade. I was losing the only friends I had, my parents were getting divorced, my dad was moving 4 hours away, and I was depressed that year. So in our CPR class, I don't even know why, but all of that became too much for me, and I just began crying. No one noticed, so I just went up to the teacher said I had to go to the bathroom and left. I went to my schools counselors for the first time. Our schools counseling office is really bad, the two counselors there are pretty much make all social events for the school too, so it's hard to get a hold of someone. But while I was sitting there bawling, two delinquents that were sitting waiting to spend the lunch with one of the counselors, started laughing, saying that I looked so pathetic. But as I was sitting there crying for (I think) about 20 mins, the vice principal came by, walked into the room, hugged me and walked me to her office and asked me what was wrong. When I cry, I gasp more than anything, especially when trying to talk.
But this vice principal who I always figured didn't really care about the students, sat there patiently trying to understand what was wrong. Then she walked me back down to the counselors office, walked me into the room, and said that I should've been taken to talk right away. (at my school, the girls were in guidance almost every day, for the smallest things or because they wanted to be out of class.) So the counselors took me, talked to me, first about random things, and then about what was wrong. Then she came up with a lunch group for kids whose parents were getting divorced. Every Wednesday at lunch I would sneak off there and talk with. The counselor and one other girl. The girl and I ended up becoming really great friends, and even outside of lunch. I'm not quite sure what would have happened if they had not helped me, I was at the point that I would sit at night and cry and think about how much it sucks. I started saying "I want to go home" even if I was home, and the thought of being that sad scared me so much, that I'd cry even more.
I used to work to a little girl with pretty deep autism (nonverbal, very little social skills, self harming, tics, very little ability to communicate). The "typical" kids were at first scared by her (she would scream and get upset easily - they didn't understand why she didn't have to go to the principal's office for hitting a teacher). After the initial fear, they grew to love her and followed her around all the time. They asked her questions, pushed her on the special swing and played with her. They never got mad when she didn't share and would fight over who got to sit with her at lunch.
One child came up to me and asked me why **Tina couldn't talk and why Tina was allowed to be loud at lunchtime/have toys at circle time/go with special teachers (therapists). I explained that some people talk with their mouths, and some people talk with their hands. Tina talked with her hands and I could understand. Also some kids need a little extra help when it comes to learning, and I was there to make sure that Tina would be ready for [the next grade]. The child went back to her classroom...the next week came back, and a whole bunch of them learned how to sign "I love you". A few learned how to use her PECS and would bring over a picture of an activity and ask her to play. When she was outside at playtime, they would gather leaves and throw them up in the air for her. It was so heartwarming to see such young children be so accepting and inviting. Tina made a lot of progress on social skills because of the other children providing such good examples. They would try to comfort her when she was upset. They never called her names or ignored her.