A Ripple of Kindness

Kindness – “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.” (Oxford Languages)

Kindness is more than just being nice. Would you prefer people to describe you as "kind" or "nice?" There can be a lack of sincerity in just being nice; there is often a perception of doing the minimum. Being kind is doing intentional, voluntary acts of kindness, not only when it is easy to be kind, but when it is hard to be too.

Kindness is a chain reaction, like a ripple in the water. It is a wave that has the potential to keep rolling and all that is needed is for one person to start it. “One kind word” has been the focus theme for the National Anti-Bullying campaign this week, looking at the positive and kind things we can do to stop hurtful behaviour in its tracks.

I think awareness and understanding is at the heart of an organisation where the people demonstrate kindness towards one another. At Yateley Manor we celebrate diversity and encourage children to see one another as individuals. This week, as always, we have been focused on the little things that make a difference to another person. Antonia Robinson, Head of Year 5, has challenged the children to identify acts of kindness throughout the week and has a long list of examples, ranging from opening doors for others to positive comments about how a friend looks. By teaching the children to be conscious of the feelings of others, and the impact they can have with the smallest of gestures of kindness, we are developing a culture that embraces diversity.

I am not a dancer but I do enjoy watching Strictly Come Dancing on a Saturday evening. I marvel at the development of the amateurs, under the guidance of their professionals, and can only dream of being able to move graciously across a dance floor! I have been particularly impressed with Rose Ayling-Ellis. The EastEnders star has been putting on quite the show and her position on the leaderboard is strong, especially after the pair got a perfect score. Even more impressive is the fact that Rose is the first contestant on the show who is deaf. She explained, ““To be the first deaf contestant on Strictly Come Dancing is sooooo exciting.. and a little bit scary,”

The kindness shown to her by her fellow contestants has been touching. Many have learnt sign language in order to communicate with her. At the end of her dances, everybody in the audience waves their hands in admiration. I am still astonished by the way she can respond to the music through the vibrations that she feels through the dance floor. Last week saw a poignant moment when the music went silent and the couple continued to dance. When the music came back Rose could be seen to ask her partner, Giovanni, “Did we do it?” In other words, did their dance match up with the music when it returned? A smile from Giovanni was enough.

A smile often is enough. Whilst the theme for the week has been “One kind word” we must not underestimate the power of a smile. We tend not to think of smiling as giving something to someone, but it is probably the most simple yet powerful thing we can do to spread kindness and happiness around the world. Smiling reduces stress that our body and mind feel, almost similar to getting a good sleep. Smiling also helps to generate more positive emotions within us. I am sure that is why we, as staff at Yateley Manor, feel happier around children – they smile more! On average, they smile 400 times a day. Whilst happy people still smile 40-50 times a day, the average person actually only smiles about 20 times a day.

I look forward to lots more smiles next week!