Starting Kind Cotton has been exciting, yet we have spent more countless hours working to make it the best that we can than I could have ever imagined. About a month ago, my remarkable principal, Mrs. Wheatley asked me to speak at a staff meeting to let everyone know what Kind Cotton is all about. As I walked to the front of the room, sweating, barely able to swallow, I looked out at the crowd of educators that sat in front of me and realized just how lucky I was to be there. Shortly after my presentation it was brought to my attention that Lakeview Elementary participates in a service learning project each year to promote good citizenship and help others. This year they wanted to focus on Kind Cotton! For the past couple of weeks, I have been working with an incredible teacher at my school, Victoria, to make posters focusing on Kindness and teaching our students about the importance of giving back to others right here in our own community. On top of spreading kindness throughout the school, we set up a table each morning to collect books, sell shirts, and explain the mission of our company to parents.
The first morning was shortly after the time change. It was pitch black on my drive into work and as I pulled into the parking lot, amidst my own tiredness and lack of light I managed to notice something special. Right there, in the front of our school, was a message to stop by and purchase a Be Kind top on our marquee. I immediately pulled a u-turn, hopped out of my car with tears streaming down my face to take a picture. Ridiculous right? I’m crying over a sign, but this message meant more to me than simply supporting Kind Cotton. It meant that I am involved in a school community that values our voices. The sign stood for unity, encouragement, and family.
I quickly got it together and proceeded to my classroom where I collected materials to set up our table. Outside, my students and I spoke to numerous families about what it means to support others and every single person left thanking us and either placing an order or donating a book. As they walked away each time, all I could think about was that the world is craving love.
As the week went on, random acts of kindness were sprouting up all over our school. Perhaps it was because we were looking for them or maybe we were imposing this idea upon our students more. Regardless of the cause, the feeling was right.
On the Friday before spring break, I sat back and enjoyed the magic of what was unfolding before my eyes. My students had 20 minutes of “free choice” at the end of the day. They could go on computers, use white boards, play an educational game etc. What happened next made me realize the beauty in practicing kindness. One of my students sat with another and helped him read. Another offered to help me clean up. A third picked up a fellow classmate’s pencil box for him. And last, 5 of them got together whispering in the corner with their white boards hidden. They slowly made their way across the room and asked me to close my eyes. As they put their arms around one another, smiling, they revealed a simple, yet powerful message, “Be Kind to Each Other.”
And just like that I felt comfort in knowing this world relies in the hands of our youth. Thank you Lakeview for understanding the importance of this day in and day out!