A Lesson in Kindness
A local teacher makes a difference, one random act of kindness at a time.
Some people never learn the art of kindness. We all know too many people who just aren't very nice. Don't you wish those people could take some lessons? Wouldn't it be great if kindness was taught and reinforced in our schools?
Well, Mrs. Peg O'Malley, a fourth-grade teacher at Eleanor Rush Elementary School, is spreading the message of kindness to her students. I was impressed and curious about what she was doing in her classroom. So, I asked her about it.
Mrs. O'Malley has been a resident of Cinnaminson for 25 years. She has been teaching "forever" and began her teaching career in North Jersey before she was married. She taught in Haddon Township for five years and then took some time off to raise her children. She returned to teaching in 1994 as a part-time special education teacher here in Cinnaminson. She's taught fifth grade in the district and is very happy to be teaching fourth grade at this time.
She explained to me that Random Acts of Kindness is something that has been around for a long time. She has been presenting the topic on and off since she read about it years ago.
"I think it is even more relevant to teach kindness today than ever before. Kids have always bullied each other, but we hear about it so much more in the news lately,” she said.
She compiled her Random Acts of Kindness packet by using books and magazines she's read over the years. Students read short stories and articles showing selfless behavior. They discuss the stories and then write about times they acted in a selfless way or someone treated them kindly. Each student receives two notes. They give one note to someone who was kind to them and use the other note to list a time they were kind to others.
Mrs. O'Malley told me, "It is important for the class to know that at times we should do something nice for others anonymously."
In Mrs. O'Malley's words, "We must stress good-old-fashioned kindness, wherever and whenever we can. Most young children have a very strong sense of right and wrong, and want to do the right thing. They want to be kind!"
I'd like to believe that most adults have that sense too; we just need to be reminded more often.
“I like this lesson because I know it does not stop with my fourth-graders. It will impact the other teachers and students and as evident by this article, the parents. We all need to be reminded to be kind in our busy lives,” said Mrs. O’Malley.
Mrs. O’Malley is making a difference in the lives of our children in school, she is definitely making an impact; it is our responsibility to continue the lessons at home and around town, one random act of kindness at a time.
After learning about Mrs. O’Malley’s lesson, I searched online and found that there is a Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.
The foundation‘s website is randomactsofkindness.org. They are dedicated to sharing the spirit of kindness in homes, schools, communities and workplaces. There are links for businesses, organizations, communities and teachers of all levels. There are lesson plans and kindness ideas. I think this could be a great resource for local teachers, clubs, organizations, churches and schools. We would all benefit from a kinder, gentler community and the site has some unique ideas to foster kindness in our lives.
Random Acts of Kindness Week begins on Feb. 14, Valentine's Day! What better time could there be to be courteous, considerate and kind to others?