On its most basic level, Areyvut’s Kindness a Day e-mail serves as a constant reminder to reach out to others. Each person who acts upon its suggestions will surely make someone else’s day a little brighter. Think for a moment how much larger an impact could be made if every individual shared his or her calendar with others.
Whether you are a community leader, teacher, rabbi, parent, grandparent or friend, there is someone in your life who could benefit from a daily, weekly or monthly reminder to uphold Jewish values. Here are some suggestions as to how the calendar can be adapted to meet the needs of different audiences. We encourage you to experiment with these ideas and to share your feedback with us.
Make it part of your morning routine: Before sending your kids off to school, make it a point to read A Kindness a Day as a family. Take a few minutes to discuss why the suggestion is meaningful and important and how you could go about accomplishing the goal. When your kids return form school, ask them if they had an opportunity to accomplish that day’s suggestion.
Positive Reinforcement: Encourage your children to engage with the calendar by using positive reinforcement. Praising them on their efforts to use the calendar as a guideline will inspire them to do more. If your child needs an extra push, offer them the opportunity to ask you to do an act of kindness with them or for them when it is needed.
Lead by example: As a parent, your children are watching every move you make. You may not realize it, but your choices and actions have a serious impact on your children. It’s not enough to tell your kids to engage in acts of kindness—your own actions must reflect the message you’re sharing! Make it a point to engage in acts of kindness both inside and outside the house, and show your kids what it means to be a true role model.
Storytelling: “I remember when…” is commonly voiced by grandparents to their grandchildren. When spending time with your grandchildren, try to recall some stories from your childhood that exhibit acts of kindness. Sharing these stories will not only give your grandchild insight into your childhood, they will help inspire them to be just like their grandma/grandpa!
Working together: Choose a calendar suggestion from each month and challenge yourself to accomplish that goal with your grandchild by your side. Don’t live near your grandchildren? You don’t need to be together to engage in acts of kindness! Each one of you can perform the same good deed and then discuss it on the phone or over video chat.
Enrich your curriculum: Enhance your curriculum by implementing the calendar’s suggestions that relate to your particular discipline. Do you teach science? When you get to a day in the calendar that relates to the environment, do a special project with your students to make that act of chesed come to life. Jewish studies? Once a week, allot time for your students to work in groups to discuss why that day’s suggestion is important to them.
Take over the school: Your impact as an educator does not just stay in the classroom. With the calendar, you have the opportunity to impact people of all ages. Add A Kindness a Day to your school newspaper or bulletin board and regularly highlight those who actively participate in tikkun olam. This way, student, parents and other educators will have the chance to benefit from the calendar.
Student becomes the teacher: Encourage your students to teach younger kids about Jewish values and to create collaborative tzedakah projects. Speak with other middle school teachers to find a time when your classrooms can get together for a course on chesed. Your students can not only lead the discussion, but they can create and introduce a hands-on project that the younger kids can participate in.
Teach ‘em when they’re young: It’s crucial to begin instilling Jewish values within your students when they’re young. When introducing a new suggestion, read a picture book in which characters emulate the suggestion. There are other ways to incorporate the calendar within middle school classrooms such as picking relevant classroom themes and projects, creating a “Mitzvah Tree” to keep track of each time your student follows a suggestion, and singing songs that relate to the theme.
The calendar and its contents are the intellectual property of Areyvut and are protected by copyright. Areyvut, however, encourages the use of this material in educational settings and on social media as long as any written material or verbal presentation acknowledges that it was taken and/or adapted from Areyvut’s A Kindness a Day Calendar and mentions the Areyvut website.
Click here to order our printed Kindness a Day calendar.