“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” – Confucius
Values that we hope to pass on to our children are both taught and caught. On 30 May 2014, students at West View Primary, along with other schools, celebrated Kindness Day SG, a nationwide effort by the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM) to encourage acts of kindness.
“When we do this (encourage acts of kindness) in schools and at home while the children are young, they will grow up to be kind, considerate and gracious adults,” said Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, who participated in the school’s celebrations.
Parents and students were delighted to spend time together making sandwiches. With fresh and delicious ingredients laid out before them, students learnt how to put a sandwich together under the guidance of parent volunteers.
Throughout this activity, smiles were seen on the faces of students, with parents giving proud nods of affirmation. But what was most heart-warming were parents who instinctively reached out to help other students who were struggling with their sandwich-making. They showed, by example, that kindness is more than mere words.
Once the sandwiches were completed, students were encouraged to serve their sandwiches to others, such as their friends, parents, volunteers or even the support staff in school.
Innovating to Help Others
Students in the school’s innovation club also learnt about helping others in their own way, as they had worked on prototype devices catered to various needs, which were showcased during the celebrations.
One of the items devised was a “Mobile Kitchen”, which picnic-goers could use to store their food safely. It was sturdy, had different storage compartments and was equipped with wheels for ease of movement.
One team member, Liaw Jun Hao, 12, shared that he would also sometimes cook simple meals for his family, such as eggs or fried rice, to show his gratitude to his parents.
To aid grocery shoppers with heavy bags, students of the innovation club also created a “Stairs-Climbing Trolley”. Parents surveyed by the club had indicated that they often opted to carry heavy shopping bags instead of using a trolley because it was difficult to manoeuvre on stairs, and they needed to separate wet produce from the dry ones.
Using what they had learnt in science classes, students installed a triangular-wheel system, so that one wheel would act as a fulcrum and allow the trolley to move up the stairs easily. Collapsible compartments were also installed to allow for separate storage of grocery items when needed.
Being kind is certainly not just an occasional thought or a one-off act. By teaching our children about it, opening their eyes others’ needs and encouraging them to do acts of kindness wherever they are, graciousness can become part of their mind-set and perspective as they grow up!