I love the warm fuzzy lesson I used to teach our students when I was a school counselor. I would read The Original Warm Fuzzy Tale, by Claude Steiner and I would pass out warm fuzzies to our students (the custodians ALWAYS LOVED me during the warm fuzzy time of year! I also made paper warm fuzzies with messages the students could send to one another, thanking each other for good deeds. It was such a wonderful environment. So often I see teachers trying to do the right thing with class meetings. They create anonymous suggestion/ complaint boxes. Students write their concerns and they are brought up anonymously at class meetings (though students can often figure out who other students are complaining about). This is not a bad way of handling things, but I wonder what would happen if more classrooms turned the emphasis on catching acts of kindness (instead of protecting anonymous complaints). What would happen if more teachers adopted a warm fuzzy attitude and worked to “catch” students in acts of kindness? What would happen if we tried hard to proactively reward positive behaviors, instead of just reacting to negative behaviors in our schools? Human nature seems to lend itself to focusing on the negative (because it annoys us), rather than reinforcing the positive. Yet, when we acknowledge the positive, our children beam with excitement and our schools become happier places.
Today, 59 days ’til 40, I will work to remind myself to focus on all of the warm fuzzy moments and things that surround me, I hope you do the same.