A Lesson In Kindness
When you're a kid, especially a shy one, the playground can be an intimidating place. It's where bullying often takes place, and if you haven't had an easy time making friends, you stick out like a sore thumb. You're left standing all alone, unsure of how to integrate yourself into the activities already in progress.
But the thoughtful kids at McIntyre Elementary School came up with a great way to try to combat this. It's called the "Buddy Bench," and we're hoping their wonderful idea will start cropping up in playgrounds everywhere!
The idea is brilliantly simple. Kids who are feeling a little shy, but want to join in the playground fun, have a seat on the bench. This alerts the other kids that those sitting on the seat just need an extra dose of encouragement. It helps to build the self-esteem of those asking for help, but also for the kids stepping up to help a classmate who is feeling left out.
And what's really incredible about the "Buddy Bench" is the fact that the idea was hatched completely by the kids. It came about when the school counselor, Regina Farrell, was holding a leadership workshop designed to help students boost self confidence and overcome shyness.
During the workshop, four fourth-graders, who'd all experienced moments of loneliness on the playground, came up with the idea for the "Buddy Bench." Regina helped the students pitch the idea to the Parent Teacher Staff Organization, and not long afterward the bench was added to the school's playground!
And since its installation, the "Buddy Bench" has been doing just what the children intended. And with this spirit of inclusiveness, bullying is far less likely to take place.
“Each day, I go to recess and see the buddy bench working,” Regina told The Huffington Post. “The lessons they are learning now will benefit them their entire lives. It is simply a beautiful example of kids wanting to be kind and continue to be kind every day.”
You'll often find many stories on our site about random acts of kindness. Instilling compassion in our youth is where it all begins. And thanks to the "Buddy Bench," it looks like we'll have plenty more in the years to come!
For more little kids with big hearts, check out this story about 5 young boys who stood up for a special needs classmate being bullied!
h/t: Huffington Post