Secret Agents

25 04 2013

Running has not happened this week, with company in town and late meetings after school. I hate running on the treadmill in front of visitors, so that was not going to happen. My next few races are shorter distances, so I’m lacking the momentum I need to get going. I did, however, make a race t-shirt – that post will come later, and running WILL resume this weekend.

So today’s post will take a detour.

There has been a lot of negativity in the news lately – both nationally and locally. I also know that there are so many good, generous, appreciative people out there. A friend of mine from college is one of them. She is putting a spin on random acts of kindness for a milestone birthday coming up. She’s turning 30, and has decided to do 30 “intentional” acts of kindness – one each day from now until her 30th birthday.

Disclaimer: I am not 30 yet.

I am, however, a School Counselor in an elementary school of approximately 600 students. Each year, I read “Have you Filled a Bucket Today?” (kids’ version) to all my second grade classes. Carol McCloud’s book demonstrates to kids in a tangible way that doing random acts of kindness not only makes others feel good, it makes them feel good, too, so it’s always a win-win. This concept really resonates with the kids, because they still remember the book years later.

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My friend has asked others to follow her on this journey, drawing inspiration from a few other blogs. My favorite quote was from http://mixmingleglow.com/blog/?p=1358: “but mostly reminded how opportunities to help others are all around us all the time; we’re just usually too busy to notice.”

Acts of kindness go a long way in changing our perception of situations. Last night, in an already crowded, at-capacity meeting room (a meeting to which I arrived a whopping FIFTY MINUTES early and still couldn’t find a seat), my colleague’s husband gave up his seat so that a friend and I could sit together. He didn’t know us and certainly didn’t have to do that. The board hearing was much more tolerable when I had a friend nearby!

Starting this past Tuesday, I have intentionally completed at least one intentional act of kindness each day:

On the first day, I brought homemade cheesecake-swirl brownies to our secretaries to celebrate Administrative Professionals Day/Week. I included a note of appreciation with each and left it on their desks before they arrived.

On Wednesday, I wrote cards for seven of the students I have taught, encouraging them to do well on their upcoming standardized tests. I taped #2 pencils with fun erasers to each note. (Each staff member at my school wrote notes to students, so every student was included).

Today, I stacked all the chairs in the classroom for a co-worker while she was outside on duty. This also helped out our custodian, as he was flying solo in the building. I combined all the trash in our room, too, to save him several trips.

After work, I had a coupon for a free mocha frappe from McDonalds, so I picked one up and dropped it off for my husband at work, since I knew he’d be staying late. He has a new boss, so I had to be very discreet about it!

I don’t really have a gameplan of 30 deeds yet, but I’m coming across a lot of ideas in other blogs. I would love to hear your ideas! I’d also love to hear how to work this into an ongoing project for elementary students. I recently attended a workshop where a counselor’s students participated in a “Secret Agents” club with her. After completing a random act of kindness, they’d leave their business card (with their Secret Agent name) behind. At the end of the year, in a ceremony, the identities of the Secret Agents were revealed. HOW COOL IS THAT?! I will definitely try this with our 4th graders next year, since our 5th graders already have so many leadership opportunities.

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