The old adage that “the monster you feed is the one that grows” has set me free quite a few times in my life. I have to remind myself of it frequently, especially when things get as heavy and heartbreaking as they have been in our society of late. Naturally, I believe in the grieving process and allowing space for that. And this is, without question, a time of grieving for many. But, when the time is right for forward movement, I find the idea of turning toward the light to be very healing, hopeful, and empowering.
I’m so grateful that I got to face the light at the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) conference in New Orleans this weekend with some lovely women for the Kids for Peace Great Kindness Challenge. As I’ve mentioned before, the Great Kindness Challenge is a school-based kindness initiative that encourages kids to do as many acts of kindness as possible during the last week of January. This program is proactive, and has a wonderful impact on school culture. When you ask kids to face the light, they become the light. Referrals to the principal’s office decrease dramatically during kindness week, incidents of bullying all but disappear, and joy infuses everything – all driven by positive, uplifting messaging.
These effects multiply just as joyfully among the adults. My role this weekend was to help spread the word about the Great Kindness Challenge with school counselors. I can say with utmost honesty that virtually every conversation I had was fun and uplifting. Every single one.
Passionate school counselors are an inspiring population in general. I am always moved at ASCA conferences by the benevolence and advocacy of the attendees. They truly believe in children, and they believe in a better world. Bringing both The Grand Kindness Challenge and school counselors together this weekend was the perfect fertilization of hope that I needed after a heartbreaking week in the news. They’ve inspired me to keep feeding that which I want to grow: kindness.