HEART-MIND 2014: The Five Ways To Promote Kindness

By Matthew Clarke

On Friday morning, Maria LeRose, the conference moderator, sat down with Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, a leader in the field of Social Emotional Learning (SEL). Kim talked about a number of programs that are implementing and integrating these concepts of mindfulness, compassion and kindness into our school curriculums. It’s a slow process with lots of struggles, but progress is being made and this work is slowly but surely finding it’s way into the mainstream system. She emphasized a point that was echoed throughout the conference, that it’s important not only to teach children these concepts, but maybe even more so to instill these values in parents and teachers. To imbed SEL training into teacher’s preparation and education is critical.

Kim shared “5 ways to promote kindness” and I thought they were so wonderful, I wanted to tape them to my bathroom mirror so I could be reminded every morning and night. Here they are:

1. What not to do: rewards (Felix spoke of this as well, that children who are rewarded for kind deeds, through a toy or treat or something, were less likely to be kind in the future).

2. Recognize the capacity children have for empathy and sympathy (We tend to underestimate them constantly).

3. Encourage children to engage in opportunities to help others and talk (reflect) about the good feelings that come from kindness.

4. Maximize support and minimize punishment.

5. Help develop a caring and kind identity (instead of a saying, “That was a kind thing to do,” say, “You are such a kind person”).

To be continued

Matthew Clarke is a Vancouver-based filmmaker, songwriter, musician, writer, father of two awesome children, and a proud out -of- league husband.  His latest short web-series, "Convos with my two year old," has become an internet sensation in it's first season and is available on YouTube .




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