11.13.2016

Focus on Kindness

Focus on Kindness: Dealing with the aftermath of the election


Focus on Kindness: Dealing with the aftermath of the Presidential election

The 2016 Presidential election is over, along with the negative campaigning, name-calling, relentless ads, and uncomfortable debates. We are left, however, with the aftermath of this hate-filled campaign season: a country divided with citizens threatening one another, protests in the streets, and children who fear their families will be ripped apart. Our reality is starting to look more like Panem than America.

In Mockingjay, Katniss learned to deal with her nightmares by focusing on the acts of kindness she witnessed each day:

Mockingjay Acts of Goodness
 "I'll tell them that on bad mornings, it feels impossible to take pleasure in anything because I'm afraid it could be taken away. That's when I make a list in my head of every act of goodness I've seen someone do. It's like a game. Repetitive. Even a little tedious after more than twenty years.
But there are worse games to play." (From p. 390 of Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.)

Recalling these "acts of goodness" is a cathartic activity for Katniss. It reminds her that there is, indeed, kindness and good left in the world.

You don't have to be a survivor of the Hunger Games or suffered under President Snow's tyranny to use this technique to cope with your anger, fears, or uneasiness that you might be feeling right now. It's a great activity to remind us all that kindness is still alive.

You can download this free activity from my TpT store. It includes directions and a handout for students with an optional writing component. While implementing the activity, you may use these tips:
acts of goodness
• Remind your students to focus on the positive things they see each day.

• Have students share their findings with the class.

• Start a kindness or "Acts of Goodness" wall in which students write their daily observations.

• Don't offer rewards for kind acts; this sends the wrong message to students. We want students to be kind for intrinsic reasons.

What I have noticed is students who are actively looking for examples of selfless acts are often inspired to be kinder themselves. And isn't that the ultimate goal?

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