While kindness may not be a qualification listed on too many job descriptions, being kind to others and to yourself will go a long way toward making you attractive as a potential employee and a person others will want to work with.
It may be a bit of a forgotten concept for many recently released from prison or jail who have endured months, if not years, in a place where kindness was no doubt in short supply. But thanks to a Seattle school administrator, this quality can be learned and practiced in a formalized manner. It only takes a bit of time, and soon you too will be well versed in the ways of kindness.
You’ll owe it, in part, to Andy Smallman, who along with his wife founded Puget Sound Community School in Seattle in 1994. One of the classes at the school decided to create a newspaper that only published good news, and researching the articles inspired the students to perform random acts of kindness.
The idea grew from there, with Smallman developing classes on kindness, followed by two types of self-paced courses on the web. One type has a standard curriculum and website, and the other can be found on his blog and is more advanced and requires reading various books.
His standard class, a kind of kindness boot camp, can be found at http://onlinekindnessclass.wordpress.com and is divided into three themes – “do something good for yourself,” “do something good for a good friend” and “do something good for a stranger.” Each theme includes an “inspiration” to get you going and a “reflection” to read after you’ve performed the act of kindness.
The inspiration for the second theme is about being a good friend, with a link to a video clip of an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee where each elephant has paired with another of its type, except for one whose best buddy is a dog a fraction of its size. The clip shows that you can be a close friend with someone who is very different than you are, so open your mind when it comes to the type of people you consider choosing as friends.
As inspiration for the “do something good for a stranger” theme, there’s a link to the website of Reed Sandridge who, instead of feeling sorry for himself when he was laid off from his job with a nonprofit in 2009, had other plans. He decided to give away $10 every day to a total stranger in Washington D.C. where he lives and blog about each of them at www.yearofgiving.org. He did this for one year and then spent the next year volunteering one day a week at a variety of organizations. Sandridge also created an organization to continue to help the people he met.
Meanwhile, in addition to examples of the exploits of animals and people, Smallman includes quotes and other links that will inspire you to be kind. Taking this course and doing the exercises will help you focus on others and feel better about yourself – almost guaranteed. And as Smallman shows, kindness can become a habit, a habit that is sure to improve your attitude both in your personal life and as you search for a job.
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