By Nikki Harper
Staff Writer for Wake Up World
What if, from early childhood onwards, every child was taught – in school, every day – to be kind? What if those daily lessons and reflections continued right through to high school graduation? What kind of effect would that have on the next generation, and would it revolutionize our levels of empathy towards one another?
Katrina Cavanagh, a therapist working with children and adults who have suffered trauma, believes that it would. What’s more, she has designed and implemented an incredible program, currently used in many schools across Australia, which aims to do just this. The “Kindness on Purpose” program aims to increase empathy in children, thereby decreasing bullying and aggression, and reducing the risk and impact of anxiety and depression in kids and teens.
Currently gaining a lot of celebrity support and having an impact on children across Australia, the Kindness on Purpose program begins in early childhood. Children receive daily lessons on how to be kind and how to choose and implement acts of kindness, and the commit to being kind each day. At the end of every school day, there are reflection sessions when children consider how they felt while being kind, and how everyone else felt. Children are also taught strategies and techniques which help them to regulate their own emotions – the ultimate goal being to create a school where everyone can express their feelings safely and appropriately.
Cavanagh developed the idea for Kindness on Purpose when she realized that the school system was not catering for pupil’s emotional intelligence. To do so would be a sensible academic strategy, because, as Cavanagh says, “We know as we increase empathy in students, the better their academic results get. It makes sense because brains in pain can’t learn.” However, the overall goal of the program is about so much more than academic learning or results. “When you increase empathy, you decrease rates of depression, anxiety, and bullying. That’s the research from around the world,” says Kavanagh. “That’s what we’re doing with Kindness on Purpose.”
Many of the current Kindness on Purpose schools have a significant number of pupils from traumatic backgrounds, but these pupils are not singled out or treated differently under the program. Instead, it is all-inclusive, involving every child, every teacher and every member of the support staff. The schools are wrapped in kindness and empathy, and the children are encouraged to continue to practice kindness and empathy at home and in their communities.
Cavanagh’s Kindness on Purpose program has already reached thousands of children across Australia, and she hopes to reach one million children – enough to spark a generational shift in empathy, she hopes. With the first Kindness on Purpose session having taken place in 2005, the concept is now starting to mature, and it will be fascinating to see how these children go on to implement the kindness and empathy which is now second nature to them. This incredible idea, to put empathy at the heart of our children’s learning, could be a spark to ignite the sea change we all long to see.
Recommended articles by Nikki Harper:
- Harnessing the Power of Synchronicity
- Beyond 11:11 – The Significance of Repeating Number Patterns
- A Time to be Born and a Time to Die: Can Astrology Predict Death?
- Premature and Caesarean Birth: An Astrological Misinheritance?
- The Benefits of a Daily Divination Practice – and How to Start One
- 7 Ways to Find Awe in Your Everyday Life
- Need Answers? Looking for Insight? 7 Ways Astrology Can Help
- Alone But Not Lonely: 6 Amazing Benefits of Solitude
- Dancing in the Rain: 6 Reasons We Should All Be Pluviophiles
- Finding Time for a Daily Spiritual Practice – How and Why to Devote Your Time
- 7 Simple Steps to Start Communicating With Nature
- Getting Started with Remote Viewing: Step by Step to Strengthen Your Psi Abilities
About the author:
Nikki Harper is a spiritualist writer, astrologer, and editor for Wake Up World. She writes about divination, astrology, mediumship and spirituality at Questionology: Astrology and Divination For the Modern World where you can also find out more about her work as a freelance astrologer and her mind-body-spirit writing and editing services. Nikki also runs a spiritualist centre in North Lincs, UK, hosting weekly mediumship demonstrations and a wide range of spiritual development courses and workshops.