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Is Kindness the Key to Happiness and Acceptance for Children?

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Is Kindness the Key to Happiness and Acceptance for Children?

“I profess the religion of Love,
Love is my religion and my faith.”
~ Rumi

I’d like to thank everyone for reading my Celestial Musings Blog this year and want to wish you all a very happy New Year. It’s wonderful to be able to pause and reflect, or as I like to say ‘muse’ a bit on what goes on around us. And in that spirit, recently a headline caught my eye which proclaimed, “Kindness Key to Happiness and Acceptance for Children.

I thought to myself, will wonders never cease? The findings from a study which the University of British Columbia and the University of California, Riverside conducted actually found that children who make an effort to perform acts of kindness are happier and experience greater acceptance from their peers. I am always amazed at how research dollars are spent so often to prove the obvious, aren’t you? But their findings are helpful when recent events have shown us what can happen when ‘happiness and acceptance’ are not part of a young persons make up. Therefore the idea of a study demonstrating just how important kindness is, is significant in scientific circles and amongst those who wish to help bring about changes for the better in early childhood education.

Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, a professor in UBC’s Faculty of Education, and co-author Kristin Layous, of the University of California, Riverside said, “Increasing peer acceptance is key to preventing bullying.”

In the study, published December 26, 2012 by PLOS ONE, researchers examined how to boost happiness in students aged 9 to 11 years. Four hundred students from Vancouver elementary schools were asked to report on their happiness and to identify which of their classmates they would like to work with on school activities.

Half of the students were asked by their teachers to perform acts of kindness — like sharing their lunch or giving their mom a hug when she felt stressed — and half were asked to keep track of pleasant places they visited — like the playground or a grandparent’s house.

After four weeks, the students again reported on their happiness and identified classmates they would like to work with. While both groups said they were happier, kids that had performed acts of kindness selected higher numbers of classmates to work with on school activities.

One of the team, Schonert-Reichl, also a researcher with the Human Early Learning Partnership at UBC said, “We show that kindness has some real benefits for the personal happiness of children but also for the classroom community,” According to Schonert-Reichl, bullying tends to increase in Grades 4 and 5. By simply asking students to think about how they can act kindly to those around them, “teachers can create a sense of connectedness in the classroom and reduce the likelihood of bullying.”

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Celeste Yarnall

Celeste Yarnall, PhD shares musings on myriad of topics at her Celestial Musings Blog. She is the author of The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care with Jean Hofve, DVM and Paleo Dog. Celeste is an actress/producer/activist/writer and keynote speaker. She and her husband Nazim Artist created the Art of Wellness Collection and are the producers of Femme: Women Healing the World. They live in Los Angeles, California with their beloved Tonkinese cats. Join Celeste at her website or on Facebook.


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8:02AM PDT on Mar 8, 2015

Kindness is NEVER out of style.

8:37PM PST on Feb 24, 2015

Great read, thank you!

2:53PM PDT on Sep 2, 2014

I too like that science has finally caught up to what many of us have known for many a year.

The video is good too!

Thank you!

8:30PM PDT on Mar 30, 2014

Thank you!

4:57AM PDT on Mar 30, 2014

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see ...

4:34AM PDT on Mar 30, 2014

Thank you :)

10:35AM PST on Feb 23, 2014

Test this idea, in various life situations, for yourself. One aside, a situation I was in after years into my Karate training, and no I will never achieve the competence of Bruce Lee or any other Martial Arts Champion. But I do know 3 things: 1/ I have the ability to cause serioius harm including death because I know how to strike to that degree and where not to strike. That tells me I must never hit anyone; 2/ No one except a trained fighter can seriously harm me with a hand or foot strike.They do not know the simple technique. 3/I will never remain in harms way unless I am forced into defending safety of self or others.I will then be deadly fierce and stupidly fearless. I am a passivist when among passivists.
So when simply by circunstance of timing I found myself in the middle of a brutal brawl I simply walked out of it. I think I was able to do so by what the Ancient Masters call becoming invisible. NOW, I was clearly visible to all of the brawlers. But my essence is I do not want to harm anyone, did not want to become involved and had no fear of being in danger. So no one had any motivation to engage me. Nothing to fear from me,no trophy to be gained. I think the gift to me from Karate is a conscious competence. And if we stop fearing each other, and if we are honest and brave enough to wade into any situation where a person or a population, or a group is being abused, and say we will not tolerate inhumanity, we will conquer what we can with kindness and know we were n

10:13AM PST on Feb 23, 2014

Kindness is the most wonderful, health promoting element I know. But some time ago I was meandering through the bush behind my friend who was carrying the canoe. No particular groomed path just knowing where we wanted to go. He stepped over deadfall, windfall, ducked under leaning blow downs; walked on the tops of moss covered rocks without a slip, all the while, the canoe never stuck a tree, I never heard a scrape nor the slap of a conifer branch. In that momement I understood why people instinctively TRUST him. He has developed conscious competence. People know they are safe with him. Years ago he was well on his way to becoming a self made multi-millionaire. He aborted that PATH when he realized that the final leg of the journey had to be made by walking on other people. He got caught up ,too, in hoarding wealth. He, like my father is multi talented; and oils artist is another developed gift. He came to see the hoarding of wealth was like an art thief stealing a beautiful painting or a paranoid collector buying a piece; both afraid to display the piece. For different reasons both end in selfish blocking of the pleasure for self and others. So, he has enough for tomorrow and a belief there will always be enough. He spends as he earns. Enjoys his life and recirculates earnings to others to enhance their enjoyment of life.
So, I have concluded that all that is needed for a tool for success, in being a human making a positive contribution, is competence.Think about this and a

1:41AM PST on Nov 19, 2013

Thank you :)

9:12AM PDT on Oct 31, 2013

If one is kind, doing it with the intention learn kindness and grow in it, then no matter what the outcome, your side of the street is clean. Thanks.

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