A Kindness Activity {and Message} The Whole World Needs Right Now

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Editor’s Note: I shared this on my personal social media FB page, but thought that it was something that would resonate with HG readers as well — so I wanted to share. Originally, this had to do with the election and how crazy social media became as a result on both sides of the aisle, but now I thought it might ring true in general, regardless of  the time of year or situation. If you feel compelled, please share. <3

kindess-activity

When I was a school counselor, I used to play a game with my students. We would sit in a circle, and I would hold up one piece of paper. We picked a name for the paper, chatted about who the paper could possibly be. Then, to much of my students’ surprise, I would ask them to pass this paper, and everyone would get a chance to say something mean or call the paper a name — and then crumple the paper or tear it just a little bit while doing so, then pass it on to the next person. Just a small tear or rip, nothing too drastic — but enough to make a small impact on the paper.

By the time the paper got around the classroom, it was in pretty bad shape. We talked about what the paper was feeling, and how to make it better. Many students would say, “Just say you’re sorry!” So then, I would instruct my students to pass around the paper again, but this time, say, “I’m sorry” and try to flatten out the paper to get it back to its original state.

At the end of the second stint around the table, the paper ended back with me, and we discussed how the paper looked. It was a bit flatter, but the rips and tears and crumples were still there. The paper could not feel whole again, even as hard as we tried to make it all better. We discussed the meaning of words and how you can say “I’m sorry,” but the hurt from those words truly never mends completely, even after time has passed. We can never take those words completely back.

This simple lesson for my kids has been sticking out in my mind as I’ve perused the halls of social media. While I am the first person to want people to stand up for what they believe in politically or otherwise, remember to be thoughtful about the words you say and type — regardless of the content. This is something that resonates throughout the world, as it’s all-too-common to see rude and hurtful comments in a blog thread or Facebook post. Be kind to each other, no matter of your difference. Engage in politics—stand up for what you believe in—but be empathetic towards each other. Even if you have a family member or friend or coworker that you don’t see eye to eye with regardless of your political affiliation {or hey, your feelings on a random celeb or meme, I encourage you to be kind. The things we say, we can apologize for, but we can’t ever take them back completely.

Words matter. Be kind. Spread love.

❤️Jen


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Jen is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of HobokenGirl.com. With deep entrepreneurial roots in Hudson County — as her grandparents owned textile businesses on Tonnelle Ave in North Bergen dating back to the 50s — she started the site as a Hoboken resident to discover the amazing things happening in the area. When not planning the next Hoboken Girl event or #HobokenGirlHelps volunteer project, she can usually be found shopping at local boutiques, eating an Insta-worthy meal, walking her two pups, or watching Bravo TV and ordering takeout with her husband.