Awhile back I participated in the UC Berkeley’s MOOC The Science of Happiness. It was a great course — a ton of work — but a great course. One of the interesting things they suggested is that children have innate altruistic tendencies. Their research and information was compelling and hopeful!
The other day, my Kindergartners and I watched Joyful Rebellion by Brad Montague (Kid President’s brother-in-law).
It’s a great little video with encouragement and challenge. He invited us to to acknowledge our greatness and power, to dream big, and fill the world with more hope, more love, and more beauty.
After we watched the video, and talked about it a bit, I shared the idea of Mirror Messages with them. I asked them what they thought about them. Could we do that for others at our school? They were intrigued, and asked many questions.
I told them our messages might not look exactly like the mirror messages. We might use index cards, or regular paper. Perhaps we’d place them on desks, or lockers, instead of mirrors. Maybe we’d pick a particular grade to gift. They were remarkably excited at the idea that we might encourage first graders, or *gasp* 12th graders! They responded with an enthusiastic “YES, we can do this!” But, their questions continued.
Them: “What about each other? Can we make them for each other?!?”
Me: “Sure! That’d be great.”
Them: “What about you? Can we make them for you?!?”
Me: “Absolutely! I’d love it.”
I got these that day …
And these in an envelope the next day.
If my experience is any example, the Science of Happiness people are right. Children are fantastic, altruistic beings, who find joy in encouraging others. All they need is the opportunity. Let’s provide them with many!
I’m excited to see how this plays out for my girls — and those we gift with our messages.