Ten simple ways to be kind

Published on: 09 November 2022

Author and 'Planetwalker' John Francis, author of Human Kindness, shares some simple ways we can all be a little nicer to each other and ourselves.

John Francis and the cover of Human Kindness

Hi! I am Dr. John Francis, also known as the Planetwalker, because for 22 years, I walked wherever I went.

I am the author of a new children's book, Human Kindness: True Stories of Compassion and Generosity that Changed the World. I'm so excited to share the story of my Planetwalk across America with young students and the lessons I learned about kindness. My book starts off with the story about how and why I began my journey of walking across America and the kindness that was shown me on the way. It tells about the history of kindness from ancient times to the present.

The future of kindness is our children. Here are ten ideas to share with young people for discussion and to inspire action in and out of the home and classroom.

Ten ways we can show kindness

1. Complimenting someone on the work they have done

When someone pays you a compliment, it feels good. That’s something you can easily do. You could even write a note if you're shy.

2. Helping a classmate with problem solving

Working together to solve a problem in class makes us feel good. It also prepares us for working together to solve bigger problems, like social injustices, and climate change.

3. Making sure you show respect for your teacher and all your classmates

How does it make you feel when you are treated with respect? Let’s practice this in class. What would it look like?

4. Listening attentively to your teacher, classmate, or friend

I have found that people like to be listened to. It makes them feel that what they say is worthwhile. When we listen without interrupting, we can make others feel good, and we might learn something new.

5. Being thankful for your parents, teachers, and others

Every morning when I wake up, I think about something I am thankful for. Of course the first one is being able to wake up, but there are so many things to be grateful for! You might also tell somebody that you're thankful for them, to show your kindness.

6. Showing forgiveness

We are all human and to be human is to make mistakes. But making mistakes is an opportunity for us to learn. Forgiving others for their mistakes is a way to show kindness.

7. Holding the door open for the person behind you

This act of kindness can show the person you hold the door open for, that you acknowledge their presence. It is a courtesy. Are there other courtesies that express kindness? What are they?

8. Helping people - whether it's carrying shopping for them or doing chores

When I was growing up, I always looked for things to do that would help my mother. Helping her carry the groceries in from the store and into the house, was one of my favourites.

9. Volunteering at an animal shelter

If you have a pet animal, like a dog, or a cat you can practice kindness. They depend on you to take care of them.

10. Being kind to yourself

If you are not kind to yourself, it can be very difficult to be kind to anyone else. Taking a walk in nature, like a park, or sitting by a stream can make you feel amazing. What other ways can you think of to be kind to yourself?

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