Is Kindness Uncommon? Caught in Kindness Challenge at California Trail Middle School

By Steven Richmond

Caught in Kindness Challenge at California Trail Middle SchoolMiddle school can be rough. In addition to just growing up, there are a lot of other things going on including family expectations, social challenges, stepped-up academics, and extra curricular activities. It takes a lot to keep things balanced. All too often we are so busy we either don’t slow down long enough to recognize kindness, or we intend to say thank you but simply forget. We all do it and our kids do it too.

Overthinking Kindness

Ross Pomeroy, editor for RealClearScience, believes that random acts of kindness are rare for one simple and surprising reason. We overthink being kind.

Unsolicited acts of kindness generally boost the well being of both givers and receivers, so why do we not see acts of kindness performed more often? Research suggests that people are afraid their act of kindness will be misinterpreted. People also undervalue how good an act of kindness will make the receiver feel. If you want to perform an act of kindness for someone, don’t overthink it. Just do it! In most cases, people underestimate the positive effects of a kind act.

Kindness starts with being kind to yourself.

Caught in Kindness Challenge at California Trail Middle SchoolKindness is more than behavior. The art of kindness involves harboring a spirit of helpfulness, being generous and considerate, and doing so without expecting anything in return. Rather than viewing it exclusively as an action, think of kindness as a quality of being you can cultivate. Giving kindness often is simple, free and even has health benefits! Kindness is good for the body and good for the mind.

Why do some people feel uncomfortable when someone is nice to them?

Many people feel uncomfortable when someone is nice to them because of low self-esteem. People who struggle with self-esteem issues often have difficulty believing they are worthy of love, affection, and admiration from others, much less kindness. Before you can accept kindness from others, don’t forget to be kind to yourself.

What started the Caught in Kindness challenge?

A Harvard study found that being kind or actively observing kindness around us boosted happiness. We feel happier when we act in service to others.

Listening to my son and his friends talk about how other students talk to each other in the halls and cafeteria was surprising. What was once considered disrespectful has turned into: What? Can’t you take a joke? Racially injected speech is not unusual, and being kind to others is often made fun of.

February 17th was National Random Acts of Kindness day, so what better time to be intentional and spotlight kindness?

Caught in Kindness Challenge at California Trail Middle School Caught in Kindness Challenge at California Trail Middle School

Father’s Club, in conjunction with California Trail Middle School, agreed to challenge the students to pay attention and recognize 2,000 random acts of kindness during the week of February 20th. Why? Because “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” We become kinder with practice.

We partnered with a local printer who provided 3,000 Caught in Kindness Cards and a variety of posters emphasizing different characteristics of kindness and affirmations like;

Respect – treating people, places, and things with kindness
Inclusiveness – including others, inviting people in, and welcoming others with open arms.
Responsibility – being reliable to do the things that are expected or required of you
Caring – feeling and showing concern for others
Integrity – acting in a way you know to be right and read in all situations
Courage – being brave when facing new or difficult circumstances

How did the Challenge Go?

Caught in Kindness Challenge at California Trail Middle SchoolWe placed posters throughout the hallways and common areas. Each day of the challenge, a number of dads showed up over lunch to hand out Caught in Kindness cards, talk to the students about kindness, encourage them to slow down, peel away from their devices, and recognize the kindness around them.

The following Wednesday, another group of dads had a blast handing out Rice Krispy Treats, Fruit by the Foot, Pop Smart, and other treats to applaud the students in recognizing over 1,300 acts of kindness. Who would have thought that Peeps and Pop Tarts were so popular!

Choose Kindness

While we do not have control over others, we have control over ourselves. Take a moment to pause, be your best self and Make Kindness Common.

Words matter be kind
You are brave
You are worth it
You are loved
You are one of a kind
You are awesome
You are smart
You are valued
You are strong
Be patient
Give grace
Find the good
Be the good


Practice the art of kindness-the mayo clinic.

The heart and science of kindness

Discover Gratitude

Kickstart Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness

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