So, I know I have been away from my blog. For a number of personal aspects I haven’t had time write on the blog. I miss it, and I hope the overwhelming period is over. So, for my first post after such a long time away, I chose to do something following up to James Taylor’s “Just Say Yes” – which plays to my heart. I strongly recommend his post, but to put it in a few words, James talks about how about a year ago he made a decision to say yes to everything (professionally at least), every request and opportunity that “knocked” on his door – within reason. Whether it was a request for answering a survey, recording a video for a PLN friend or a conference, he said yes. And he became a better person and had some great things happen to him because of that. I am a firm believer of that.
Quite a few years back, pushed by a project I was doing with some of my classes based on the film Pay It Forward , I made a decision to every day make a conscious “random act of kindness”. Whether it was help someone I don’t know, get out of my way to help someone I know or give some food to a kid begging for money on a street light (we have quite a few of those in my city). I don’t think this makes me a good person in any way. Sometimes it is something as simple as stopping my car to give way to someone backing up from a parking space in a busy street. Those who live in a city as big as mine know this can be considered an act of kindness, with every impatient car behind you honking in the process. I do it expecting nothing in return. I do it for the simple reason I think the world has become too individualised, people are too self-centered, too wrapped in their own worlds. Life seems to have become so demanding and fast that people forget to be kind. People sometimes forget we live in a community. And I have discovered (ok, so maybe many other people know it already) that what you throw into the world comes back to you. Yelling generates yelling. Impatience generates impatience. But (thankfully) kindness generates kindness as well.
A friend, who is an acclaimed novelist and writer,has written this piece of writing. And it speaks to me, when it preaches “kindness generates kindness”. And I believe that.
So, I leave you with a video about sharing from TED and the changes it can have in your life; the free translation I have made from my friend’s short story ( I apologize for any mistakes on the translation. But it had rang to close to my heart for a year.); and an idea of an activity to use with students after reading it. Maybe we can spread kindness after all. And if I can leave you with something positive, here’s a man in Rio de Janeiro who preaches kindness to others (the best link in English I could find about him is this)
I couldn’t help noticing, when I came across James’ post, how much it rang true to what I believe: Be good, be helpful, and the world will (hopefully) be good again.
It feels good to be back again :)
Update: I know my blog is usually very ELT / classroom focused. But I think as educators who have such influence on the young people who will soon be adults, we can make a difference if we bring and discuss such ideas in class as well.