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B Kinder Day to spread kindness, empathy and compassion

Diana Jenkins, May 19, 2020 6:30PM Kids News

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Billie Kinder, 12. B Kinder Day on June 22 honours Billie by encouraging children to spread kindness, empathy and compassion. Picture: supplied. media_cameraBillie Kinder, 12. B Kinder Day on June 22 honours Billie by encouraging children to spread kindness, empathy and compassion. Picture: supplied.

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Billie Kinder never doubted the power of one. The bubbly 12-year-old with a smile like sunshine packed a lifetime of positivity into her poetry, illustrations, writing and small acts of kindness, living by a simple belief that adults often forget: each one of us can always change things for the better.

When Billie tragically died in a 2016 equestrian* accident, her family established the charity Fly High Billie, creating a lasting legacy* kids around the country can enjoy, thanks to ‘b kinder’ resources and the third annual B Kinder Day on June 22.

With a loving play on Billie’s name, the idea of B Kinder Day is to spread kindness, empathy and compassion*, according to mum Danny Mayson-Kinder. Originally limited to schools, with students exchanging and mailing $1 b kinder greeting cards printed with Billie’s illustrations, the ripple effect of kindness soon made the day a much larger celebration.

Last year over 8500 b kinder cards went out. Before school closures around the country, Ms Mayson-Kinder hoped 25,000 cards would be shared this year. With students now returning to the schoolyard and a month to go before B Kinder Day, she believes there is still time to make that goal a reality.

media_cameraBillie Kinder, 12. B Kinder Day on June 22 honours Billie by encouraging children to spread kindness, empathy and compassion. Picture: supplied

“Last year we had schools in England take part, we had communities take part, organisations, cafes, restaurants, shops, so it’s growing quite rapidly. Post-COVID it will be hopefully huge,” she said.

Indeed, acts of kindness have emerged as the primary* community response to the pandemic. Empathy in action is a lesson kids are unlikely to forget, says Mark McCrindle, founder and director of social research company McCrindle.

“Four in 5 Australians are saying that COVID-19 will play a significant role in shaping the children of today. It’s up there with one of those iconic* events like the Great Depression or World War II.

“The age at which we’re exposed to a massive issue determines how embedded* it becomes in our psyche* and how formative* it becomes in shaping our behaviour and attitudes, so this will be definitely formative for the younger school age children in all areas,” Mr McCrindle said.

As well as three b kinder workbooks, covering age-appropriate activities, the main resource is a beautiful book called Hope, full of Billie’s artwork, poetry and inspirational quotes she loved.

media_cameraBlossom – artwork created by Billie Kinder. Picture: supplied.

Originally intended as a private family tribute to the little girl who always wanted to publish a book, the reaction from other children has seen Billie’s words of kindness enter schools in a bid to combat bullying and other crises negatively impacting our kids. Profits are used to supply the resources to disadvantaged students and schools with restricted funds.

“The feedback (is) quite remarkable, especially from the parents of children. The Hope book (is) initiating conversations with their children around not just nice things, like their family hopes and dreams, but also racism and death and bullying,” Ms Mayson-Kinder said.

She believes the value of the b kinder resources is that it is very rare for students to see something written and illustrated by another child.

“Kids say to me, ‘I want to be just like Billie’ and it makes kindness very doable for them. It’s not just something they’re told to do or they’re supposed to do, they can actually see that this little girl made a difference.

“I think that’s the really big advantage that Billie’s voice seems to be having, is she’s just another little girl like them,” Ms Mayson-Kinder said.

GLOSSARY

  • equestrian: horse related
  • legacy: gift
  • compassion: sympathy, feeling
  • primary: first, leading
  • iconic: classic, famous, renowned
  • embedded: fixed, lodged, set
  • psyche: innermost self
  • formative: influential, determining

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. When is B Kinder Day celebrated each year?
  2. What is the book of Billie’s poetry and illustrations called?
  3. How many Australians think COVID-19 will have a significant impact on children today?
  4. What has emerged as the primary community response to the pandemic?
  5. What are some of the topics raised by the Hope book?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES

1. Plan an event for B Kinder Day
The third annual B Kinder Day is scheduled for June 22nd, about a month from now. Work in a small group of 4-5 students to write a proposal to your school principal or wellbeing co-ordinator about how you would like your school to be involved. You can get information about the types of activities undertaken from the Kids News article and the ‘Fly High Billie’ website at http://flyhighbillie.org/b-kinder-day/

Your proposal needs to outline the following details in a letter format. Your group should also be willing to follow this up to co-ordinate these activities for B Kinder Day if your principal or wellbeing co-ordinator agrees to it.

  • Outline of the Fly High Billie organisation:
  • Outline of B Kinder Day:
  • Suggestion of what you would like your school to do to celebrate B Kinder Day on June 22nd:
  • How you would organise it:
  • Cost involved:
  • Resources needed:
  • Purpose of the activity:
  • Positive outcomes for participating in this day:

Deliver this letter to your principal or wellbeing co-ordinator and await their response.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Health and Physical Education, Personal and social

2. Extension
What acts of kindness have you witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Did this time allow you and your family to connect more and show kindness to others in tough situations?

Why do you think Billie’s message resonates with kids?

Time: allow 10 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Health and Physical Education, Personal and social

VCOP ACTIVITY

B Kinder to yourself

B Kinder Day is a fantastic event that encourages us all to be a little kinder to others, but it’s important to be kind to ourselves as well.

List 3 things you could do during June to be kinder to your mind and body. Think about your stress levels, your health and fitness, your socialisation etc.

Make the things realistic, so that you can achieve them.

 

HAVE YOUR SAY: Share what you like to draw and write about.
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

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