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Be kind. Pass it on.

Yale University teaches a class to 1,200 undergraduates called “The Good Life” that, among other awesome “re-wiring” assignments, includes one that requires students to practice doing random acts of kindness.

If Yale can do it, so can we.

Your March break assignment is to find opportunities for random acts of kindness with your family.

Kindness has many benefits and is doable by humans of almost any age.

The benefits of kindness go beyond our own personal wellbeing. Listen to Dr. Dacher Keltner explain how human beings are “built to be kind” in a short video where he explores Charles Darwin’s assertion that “communities, which included the greatest number of sympathetic members, would flourish best.”

For the younger members of your family, this Sesame Street video may get them thinking on the topic of kindness. Sesame Street also did some serious kindness research. You can take their survey and read their results here.

Older kids may like to check out Greater Good Science Centre’s list of movies that “highlight the best in humanity.” Maybe choose one from the list, have a family movie night and follow up with some sort of kindness action inspired by the film.

This short video from Kid President lands really well for kids in the middle years, but I can promise you’ll laugh out loud too. He offers up some excellent ideas on how to up our kindness with words (and corn dogs).

Kindness doesn’t have to be person to person. Consider your environment and try “plogging.”

If you still need convincing on the importance of kindness, “Can Kindness be Taught” is a recent New York Times article that offers ample evidence about the power of developing pro-social skills.

If you have only a few moments to click on one link in this article, go back to the top and listen to the CBC interview with the Yale professor who teaches the “Good Life” course. I think you’ll have much to ponder about what we value and how this affects our youth.

Like many of you, road trips with my family include paying for the order of the vehicle behind us at a Tim Horton’s drive through. And I think it’s “rrrrrrrroll up the rim to win” time, so who knows, maybe that kindness karma will work for you in more ways than one.

Wishing you a very happy and safe March break with an abundance of kindness.

Please email me at lfraser@ucc.on.ca if you have any comments. I really do love hearing from you.

Laurie Fraser, Character Program Director