In a world where you can be anything, be kind.
It’s simple really, isn’t it? The kindness we show and give to others will in one way or another be returned to you. When we are kind to each other, we’re creating space for love, compassion, forgiveness, hope. All the good stuff that makes your heart fuzzy and gives you that feeling that, ‘yeah, the world can be a good place after all.’ Now we know the world isn’t full of rainbows and butterflies, and right now there is a lot of uncertainty, stress and turmoil. However if we want to see change, we need to be part of the change, in any way we can.
Recently we had the pleasure of meeting Tallulah McGlinchey, a 10 year old girl from Edinburgh who’s on a mission to make the world a kinder place. She has created the Kind Squad, an initiative within her school to promote inclusivity, friendship and equality. We sat down with Lula and her Dad Frazer to talk about how we can all build a community based on kindness.
Words and actions
Everyone deserves to be treated the same, no matter who you are, where you’re from or what life experiences you’ve had. Lula tells me she lives by that each day, and is excited about teaching others around her to do the same. The way to spread kindness is through our words and actions, and this is exactly what the Kind Squad seeks to teach. It is through our every day conversations and things we do that we can become kinder, more respectful human beings that look out for one another.
“KINDNESS SHOULD BE A NORMAL THING, BUT SADLY IT DOESN’T ALWAYS SEEM TO BE THE CASE.”
Lula said ‘Kindness should be a normal thing, but sadly it doesn’t always seem to be the case. What we need to do is do something kind each day,’ This is exactly what Lula and the Kind Squad strive to do - through talks at their school, chats with their friends and their future plans and projects.
It’s not always easy though. Lula mentions that sometimes spreading the message of kindness means having conversations with people that might feel uncomfortable. She shares a great example, her good friend Cora has autism and sometimes kids in their class or school can misunderstand her or vice versa. So Lula will, in a compassionate way, step in and encourage her fellow classmates and schoolmates to be more respectful of one another. They also work to help their schoolmates understand that often times when someone acts out or perhaps is mean to another classmate, that person may be dealing with difficulty in their own life, be it insecurity or perhaps issues at home. ‘Everyone, boys and girls, have their pros and cons, but we need to learn to be more accepting and inclusive.’
What the Kind Squad does so well is that they create such an inclusive space for the conversation around what it means to be kind, to live mindfully and respect one another. They also hold space for understanding where someone may be coming from when they are angry, acting out or hurt someone. Essentially, they help to create a middle ground for their friends and schoolmates to learn from each other. She also helps Cora deal with emotions that might overwhelm her, such as when she gets upset by something someone has said. “It’s okay to let it go, it’s ok, you can let it go” Lula tells her compassionately.
Let’s be honest, at some point kids (just like adults) are going to fall out, have disagreements or feel upset or hurt by someone or something. It’s natural - we’re all human. But through moments of discomfort we grow, and the same goes for kids.
One step at a time
It would be silly to think we can do everything in one go. Just like your eyes are too big for your belly whenever you pile a mountain of food onto your plate expecting to eat it all easily, the same goes for trying to create positive change.
Start small - whether that’s at school, in your neighbourhood, or just amongst friends. Next on Kind Squad’s list is kindness baskets, which are baskets filled with goodies and useful bits and bobs for kids that may be struggling at home. What an incredible thing! They also plan to create some tie-dye t shirts to wear and to give to their friends. Lula said that tie-dye is a perfect fit for what Kind Squad strive to represent, as ‘The patterns are perfectly imperfect, just like all humans’.
It’s truly inspiring to see kids setting up their own projects and squads to advocate for a better world, and we hope Lula and her friends’ work can inspire other children across the country and the world to spark positive change.
We asked Lula what are 5 things other kids can do to start their own kind squad:
1. Bring your friends
Gather your friends, even if you only have one or two. It can feel quite scary starting a project by yourself or talking to a crowd of people, so having a friends by your side can make it feel a lot easier.
2. Shout about it
Shout about kindness by make some signs and putting them in your windows, this will help remind people passing by your house to be kinder - sometimes all we need is a little nudge in the right direction!
3. Print some stickers
Print some stickers like we did, and share them with your friends. This is another great way to spread the word - imagine if every one of your friends shared one sticker with one more friend or family member - the movement will keep growing and growing!
4. Get Creative!
Pick an activity that your squad can do to be kind. If you love to cook - bake some cakes or biscuits and give them to your neighbours, or if you like to draw make some kind cards and hand them out to your classmates. Use what you already love to do to help spread the word.
5. Talk to your teachers
Ask your teachers if they can help you set up workshops or events at your school to promote kindness. This is a great way to get lots of people to learn more about ways they can be kind everyday.