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☰ Make Someone Smile Today

Head's Blog

Make Someone Smile Today

Posted on March 01 2018

“When given the choice between right or being kind, choose kind.” R.J. Palacio

This week I was looking out of my office window, glancing down onto the school playground, and was delighted by what I witnessed (please note that I was extremely busy at the time and do not just sit in my ivory tower gazing out of windows!). The children were playing beautifully on a cold, crisp sunny morning and one of our older junior pupils was helping a younger child manoeuvre around the play equipment as they were clearly having difficulties.

Now, this is nothing too unfamiliar in the family friendly setting of Forest Park, but when I looked more closely, and really observed this interaction, it was evident that there was a real connection between these two pupils. The eye contact and smiles were clear to see. The older child was helping, supporting and taking a real interest in the younger child. She guided her carefully around the play equipment and the smile on her face was heart-warming to say the least.

It delighted me to watch two pupils share such a wonderful encounter and made me proud of the young people we are moulding here at Forest Park. Offering genuine attention to somebody is a powerful gift and to be kind to others is the most important virtue in life. It doesn’t cost anything and its impact creates more than just a positive atmosphere. Simple, yet meaningful words, are so rewarding and we actively promote this ethos with our pupils.

Recognising the positives about others and sharing our appreciation is a fundamental interpersonal skill. It lifts spirits, ascends to a new level of conversation and strengthens relationships. It brings the best out in people and becomes a source of happiness and motivates pupils. A simple act of kindness or a pleasing compliment does not simply last for that brief moment. They touch a core, they inspire and they even permeate through to how individuals view themselves in life. Compliments and acts of kindness benefit both parties and we aim to make as many as we can at Forest Park, because like so many other social skills, the art of paying compliments or being nice to others can sometimes get lost.

Daily use of text messages, emails and social media is changing the way we behave and communicate with one another. Personal interactions are becoming weakened and conversations diluted. Yes, emojis and other images can reflect on screen our feelings but nothing beats a smile on a human face, especially a child’s!

Many people are often so busy in life and with themselves, that they do not pay enough attention to what is going on around them. What others are up to and how they are affecting each other with their interactions. Fewer people say hello or good morning on their commute to and from work; instead they are busy watching a screen or texting someone.

The brain is hard wired for negativity and has a tendency to remember and store the bad experiences in our lives. That is why we often remember more of these times rather than the nice ones. It is why efforts are needed to consciously notice positives in others, to act kindly and make others smile.

So, at Forest Park, we are generous with our praise and boost self-worth with all of our pupils. Little acts of kindness are in abundance here and the knock on effect is that our young people feel better about themselves. Not just because the staff praise and compliment them, but, just like the episode I saw from my window, the pupils are kind with one another too. Spontaneously they go out of their way to help others, to say nice things to each other or even just say hello. The children at Forest Park help and support one another within our family and as a result our family is happy and strong.

We never forget that expressing gratitude leads to more fulfilling experiences for our pupils. It is such an effective way to increase happiness in our school as well as the happiness of others around us. If there is one thing our children remember most from their time at Forest Park, it is to make someone smile!

Nick Tucker

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