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Step up and step out for a kinder world

Donna Coutts, November 9, 2020 6:45PM Kids News

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Billie Kinder. The charity Fly High Billie aims to spread kindness, empathy and compassion as part of Billie’s legacy. media_cameraBillie Kinder. The charity Fly High Billie aims to spread kindness, empathy and compassion as part of Billie’s legacy.

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Are you up for a challenge?

It’s World Kindness Day on November 13 and Fly High Billie — a charity aiming to empower* children to make a difference through kindness — is setting you a challenge called Walk for a Kinder World.

The walk isn’t about how many steps you do or how fast or how far you walk. It’s about spreading kindness and doing good.

Walkers decide how far and where they would like to walk. You can walk around your garden, a park or the block, or to the shops or on a full marathon! The main thing is to walk with purpose: smiling at someone you pass, offering up a good deed or walking a neighbour’s dog, and inviting friends and family to sponsor you for getting involved.

It’s Fly High Billie’s first Walk for a Kinder World and everyone across Australia is invited to get involved between November 13 and 15.

Happy family walking around public park during sunny day - Parents and children having fun with their dog in summer time - Vacation, holiday, positive mood concept - Focus on faces media_cameraThere is research to support the benefits of getting outside in nature, exercise, being kind and receiving kindness.

Fly High Billie was founded by Danny Mayson-Kinder, whose daughter Billie died in a 2016 equestrian* accident. Fly High Billie also runs the annual B Kinder Day in June to spread kindness, empathy and compassion as part of Billie’s legacy.

Ms Mayson-Kinder said it’s particularly important to spread kindness in 2020 after a difficult year, which has included bushfires and pandemic-related restrictions.

“The world always needs a little more kindness. Taking the time to share a kind thought and action with a loved one or stranger can make a difference in anyone’s day,” Ms Mayson-Kinder said.

“We encourage participants to not only measure their kindness in steps but in actions.”

WHAT IS KINDNESS?
Psychologist Fiona Smith of Gifted Minds said it’s helpful to think of three categories of kindness: kindness to yourself, to others and to the planet and humanity* more broadly.

“Being kind to yourself is the fundamental type of kindness,” Ms Smith said.

“Not being hard on yourself if you are anxious, stressed or worried, recognising that there are things going on in the world and recognising and accepting that I feel really sad at the moment.”

A simple thing to do to help yourself if you’re feeling sad is to be outside.

“Exercise helps with sadness and worry, so if that’s how you’re feeling, it’s good to get outside and be in nature.”

Ms Smith suggests being kind to others can be anything that engages and responds to other people in a positive way.

“That could be giving a smile instead of replying to a greeting with a blank face; a hug when we can if we feel like it — not to strangers — or if your sister or brother is having trouble, offer some sort of help.”

Senior woman waving through the window media_cameraSmiling and waving to strangers is the simplest display of kindness there is.

We’re not all experts at accepting kindness, however.

“Some of us aren’t very good at accepting kindness because it feels like it puts us under obligation*, and we’re not sure how to react.

“It’s good to be gracious*, but one way of accepting kindness isn’t necessarily immediately being kind in return.

“If someone smiles at you and you don’t smile back immediately that’s okay, but think ‘how can I put that kindness forward in a way I feel safe or good about?’”

Being kind has benefits for the person who is giving kindness, too.

“There is hard data that is saying that kindness, love and gratitude are very good for you, they actually make you feel better. So there is research to support the benefits of getting outside in nature, exercise, be kind and receive kindness.”

Thank you note with smile face and flower cluster media_cameraTelling or showing someone they are appreciated is a simple act of kindness. Picture: iStock

KINDNESSES
Fly High Billie has these kindness suggestions for your Walk for a Kinder World.

  • Write a kindness card or note and drop it in someone’s letterbox (kindness cards are  available at flyhighbillie.org)
  • Offer to walk up to the shops to pick up your neighbour’s groceries (with parent or guardian help or permission)
  • Take your elderly relatives for a walk (even if it’s only around the garden). Make sure it is COVID safe
  • Offer to walk a friend or neighbour’s dog
  • Walk with someone – especially if you know of someone who might be lonely
  • Pick up litter along your walk
  • Smile at 50 people while on a walk – don’t finish the walk until you have reached 50 people
  • Hand out sunflowers to people as you pass
  • Give people compliments
  • Paint rocks with kind sayings on them and hide them in a park or along your walk
  • Take your neighbour’s bins out (and in!)
  • Write positive messages in chalk along your walk
  • Say g’day to the people you pass while you’re walking
  • Call a friend or family member while you’re walking and simply tell them how wonderful they are
  • Walk to a nearby animal shelter to donate blankets, pillows and towels

Remember: No act of kindness is too small!

WALK FOR A KINDER WORLD
For every $20 raised during the walk for a kinder world, Fly High Billie will donate a b kinder workbook and online kindness resources to a child at a disadvantaged school in Australia. The b kinder workbooks were designed to help children think about what it means to be kind.

“The walk for a kinder world initiative can bring people together to achieve the common goal of kindness. We encourage you to go for a walk. Do something kind and help us donate kindness resources to children in disadvantaged schools,” said Ms Mayson-Kinder.

For more information visit flyhighbillie.org

GLOSSARY

  • empower: make someone stronger and more confident so they can do something
  • equestrian: relating to horse riding
  • humanity: human beings collectively
  • obligation: duty or commitment
  • gracious: courteous, kind and pleasant

EXTRA READING

Billie’s kindness lives on

Simple steps to ease your worried in troubled times

Barber’s kindness helps the homeless

Making ISO bears for friends to cuddle

QUICK QUIZ

  1. What is Fly High Billie for?
  2. Name the three general types of kindness.
  3. What are three things research shows are good for you?
  4. What donations could you make to an animal shelter?
  5. What does the donated money buy? Who for?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. What is Kindness?
To be able to spread kindness we need to know what it is exactly. Come up with a definition of kindness based on your own understanding and what is written in the article.

Then, use the letters that spell KINDNESS to create an acrostic poem about kindness or ways that we can show kindness to others.

Acrostic poems use the letters from the word written vertically down the page. You then use the letter at the beginning of each line to start a word or sentence about the topic.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Personal and Social Capability, Critical and Creative thinking

2. Extension
Can you get involved in this challenge? Think of a way you can be involved in this challenge. What act of kindness could you do on your walk?

Before asking people to sponsor you, you need to clearly state what you plan to do, why you are getting involved and where the money they sponsor you will go. Write a paragraph or two explaining to family and friends how you are getting involved in this challenge.

An example is:

Hi, my name is __________. This year I’m getting involved in the Fly High Billie kindness walk.

I plan to …

I want to get involved because …

Any sponsorship I collect will go to …

* Remember to have parent/guardian permission before signing up to any sponsorship activity.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Personal and Social capability, Critical and Creative thinking

VCOP ACTIVITY
World Kidness Day

Next Friday is World Kindness Day and we want to challenge you to complete a RAK (random act of kindness) either at school or at home to support the Fly High Billie challenge. But sometimes it can be hard to think of something you could do, so we have come up with five different acts of Kidness (kindness by kids) to turn World Kindness Day into World Kidness Day!

Pick one of the RAKs to complete and try and keep it a secret. (It only works if people aren’t expecting it.)

Then on Friday, November 13, see if you can complete your challenge before the end of the day.

RAKs

1. Leave a compliment note for someone to find.

2. Talk to someone different at playtime.

3. Ask a classmate to share a favourite family memory to get to know them better.

5. Tell someone a quality you love in them.

6. Give a compliment to an adult at school who is not your teacher.

Remember VCOP is not just about writing, it’s about talking too. So we picked RAKs that are spoken or written. But maybe you would like to write your own to add to the list?

HAVE YOUR SAY: What kindness would you like to give or receive?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

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