Note: This is a guest essay by Seona Craig
My son is 5 and in his first year of school. His teacher Mrs P is teaching my son’s class far more than your usual Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. She’s teaching each child to love and be loved.
Regularly Mrs P hosts what she calls “Child of the Day.” She announces the child (chosen in alphabetical order) and then they scurry happily into the middle of a circle of fellow classmates. Mrs. P then asks each of the child’s classmates to think about what they love, like and admire about that child….making her way around the circle, with her small microphone.
Each child in the circle is told to make good eye contact with the “Child of The Day.” Next they are told to speak a sentence with the words: “I love you (child’s name) because…….” Then they are asked to identify their own unique, beautiful reason that they they like and admire that child…while the “Child of the Day” sits there beaming with happiness.
I love you because you are kind” (was the most popular reason given).
I love you because you are responsible.
I love you because you make the teachers laugh.
I love you because you are always helpful.
I love you because you play with me.
Afterwards, the “Child of The Day” is gifted with a laminated poster, titled (Childs Name) “We love you because….” – followed by a list of the key reasons identified by the children and Mrs P. The “Child of The Day” is then told to hang this poster in their bedrooms to remember why they were loved and valued by their peers.
I am moved by how these children so naturally and openly express their love for one another. I believe that this act of kindness is creating a powerful “ripple effect.” I hope that this story gets read by many, so that Mrs. P’s ripples are continued out into the world, and other teachers might be inspired to do the same. I’d love for kids everywhere to feel comfortable expressing kindness from an early age onward – and see that being kind is a super cool thing to do.