Jan/Feb
2018

The Kindness Diaries

Written by Joy Blewett
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Leon Logothetis quit his corporate desk job and headed out across the world seeking kindness. He not only found kindness given to him, but he gave kindness. Logothetis wanted to discover if there were actually kind humans still out there.

“The Kindness Diaries” book and Netflix series (released in 2015) is changing the way people see each other, as well as what it means to show kindness to one another. Logothetis’ adventures take us across the world to different cultures, different climates, but with one thing all in common—humanity. 

KINDNESS IN STEWARTVILLE

As part of “The Kindness Diaries” book tour, Logothetis gave a presentation in Stewartville on August 30, 2017, organized by REACH coordinator James Parry of Stewartville High School and Middle School. About 200 people gathered in the Stewartville Performing Arts Center for this event. 

 

Megan Romens, mother of two elementary-age children, shared that the presentation was very thought-provoking. It developed a dialogue between Romens and her kids about what it means to be kind and how we treat others. Romens says she always felt like a kind person but Logothetis’ presentation brought kindness to a whole new level she had never considered. “It was a great reminder to be very conscious of how you make other people feel,” she says. 

Logothetis’ findings on kindness were random and from people with no hidden agendas, just the kindness in their hearts. They were humble, not concerned about whether someone would see them express kindness or not. These lessons aligned directly with how the REACH program teaches about character. 

REACH

As a teacher, Parry has been using “The Kindness Diaries” in REACH, an elective class offered to students in seventh to 12th grades. REACH stands for Relationships, Education, Accountability, Character and Hard Work. 

The mission of REACH is to make meaningful connections with students who need support, building personal improvement in all areas of their lives. Parry shares that “one of the REACH character standards states: Students will understand that their character is based on their values and willingness/ability to do the right thing, even when no one else is watching.” 

Parry believes strongly, as many teachers do, that “the personal/emotional needs of our students must be met first so they can find the academic success they are looking for.” This is why the REACH program is such an important part of education and students really benefit from it. Many of Parry’s students attended the presentation and were very excited to meet and learn from Logothetis himself. 

RAKTIVISM

We officially acknowledge kindness with National Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Day on February 17, 2018. According to the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation anyone anywhere can become a RAKtivist: a Random Acts of Kindness activist. Their website randomactsofkindness.org is full of information—from kindness ideas to free K-12 lesson plans for teachers. The curriculum lessons teach kids important social emotional skills.

Check out RAK events going on in Rochester, specifically with CAKE—Caring Acts of Kindness Everywhere. Listen to Danielle Teal on KROC 106.9 radio station for inspirational kindness ideas. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Spread kindness and become a RAKtivist.

I have always believed that what you give out comes back to you. It may not be in the way you imagined, but more often it is better than you could ever have planned. This February, find a way to show someone you care.

DOCUMENTARIES AND DISCUSSIONS

The Olmsted County BRIDGE Collaborative, Rochester Area Fatherhood Network and the REACH program in Stewartville Public Schools are hosting two documentaries with discussions afterward in the Stewartville School Performing Arts Center.

Paper Tigers 
7 p.m. on Monday, January 22, 2018 

Resilience: The Biology of Stress and The Science of Hope 
7 p.m. on Monday, January 29, 2018 

Register at eventbrite.com.

 

Joy Blewett is a local freelance writer, designer, and art teacher.