During the past 30 days, we have extended an invitation to embark on a journey of Deep Kindness. People of all ages, of all backgrounds, and from all sorts of geographical locations joined in. It brought joy to the whole team here at CharacterStrong team to see so many people engaging with the Kindness Journal. We first set out to create this set of Kindness challenges long before we knew how much we would all need it right now.
When I first heard the news that people across the country and the world would soon be encouraged to stay home for the foreseeable future, I was far from home speaking at a conference. I quickly adjusted my travel plans for the coming months and boarded a flight home, not knowing how long it would be until I’d be back on the road. In over 8 years, I haven’t been in one place longer than 15 days, and here I was set to be home for several weeks along with the rest of the world.
As I got on that flight, my heart was heavy as I thought about the collective grief we were walking into. The friends, teachers, and family members we may not see in person for some indeterminable time. The spring sports unplayed, the plays left in rehearsal. In the time it took me to fly from Washington to California, the Kindness Journal went from an idea to something we were ready to share. The timing never felt so right. This virus has affected us ALL and the vast majority of the 7.8 billion of us have never met Patient Zero. It stands to reason that that sort of impact can be equally GOOD. So we put that to the test.
We couldn’t have anticipated the humor, the sincerity, and the overwhelming love you would all bring about in sharing your experiences with the Kindness Journal. We’ve shared some of our favorite moments with you here. By visiting deepkindnessjournal.com, you can see many more images that show some evidence of the Kindness Journal in action.
A 5th grader sharing what he loves about his past, present, and future self, including that he wants to use all that he is learning to help others.
This family taking a gratitude walk together, even the youngest is writing her gratitude down from inside the stroller.
The save the dates created, then followed through on in big fashion! We see you, Starburst Jellybeans.
The 1/6th birthday wishes with a friendly side of science teacher rivalry
So many haikus used to spread some love to students at home.
And the thoughtful I.O.U.’s with treats included.
As we arrive at our 30th Day of Kindness, we are grateful for the impact that these single moments of intentional, Deep Kindness can have on the recipient, the Kindness contributor, and the bystanders. While we may not be sending you an email each morning or posting the fun images each day, the Kindness doesn’t have to stop here. In fact, we hope that it doesn’t!
We have seen many groups, schools, and families starting the journal on their own schedule. Please, make it your own! If you missed a day or really loved one of the challenges, go back and do it again. If you haven’t started yet, start today. Start tomorrow. Just start.
Our world needs more people thoughtfully practicing intentional, deep Kindness. It’s not about a perfect 30 day streak, but rather about our willingness to allocate attention and love to positivity and hope consistently over time.
Thank you for the gift of observing and celebrating the significance of Kindness through this 30 Day Journey together. It is inspiring in a moment of collective pain to find shared hope. It is beautiful in tragedy to see empathy and connection. It is exhilarating in uncertainty to see the consistency of Kindness.
We are just getting started.
Making Kindness Normal,
The CharacterStrong Team
Houston Kraft is the co-founder of CharacterStrong. He is a professional speaker and kindness advocate who has spoken at over 600 events internationally. Student Body President in High School, Class President at Bowdoin College, Leadership Camp Staff for 14 years in Washington - he is a lifelong learner of character, culture, kindness, and leadership. He was featured in 2019 on BBQ Lays Potato Chips and his mom's lasting life lesson is "Hug like you mean it."
Mikayla graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in Social Work and Human & Family Development. She is currently pursuing her Master's in Social Work with an emphasis in School Social Work and has served at-risk youth in a variety of trauma-informed care settings. She is very passionate about the power of connection and relationships and changing the world through social-emotional learning. Mikayla enjoys coordinating the CharacterStrong Speaker Squad and Staff Professional Development to bring passionate people to work in your schools!