RAKtivist: Carrie

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My name is Carrie and to me, kindness is a CHOSEN lifestyle. In my classroom, I tell my students that every day they are offered a plate – a choice. They can’t choose what HAPPENS to them, but they CAN choose how they respond to it. Kindness is a CHOICE. And it is a LIFESTYLE. It isn’t something we just choose from time to time – it is a way to live our lives.  My father was hospitalized with leukemia when I was in college. He didn’t choose the cancer, but he CHOSE how to respond to it. To this day, the nurses STILL write my mother letters 17 years later. The reason? My father’s kindness to others even when he was struggling. He made kindness a lifestyle.

And I want to be like him.

Every day as a teacher, I try and teach the kindness lifestyle. Just recently I turned 40 and a friend gave me 40 individual dollar bills. She challenged me to do something creative with the money. I gladly accepted the challenge.

I gave 40 of my students one dollar and challenged them to make a difference. What happened? My Twitter and Instagram feed flooded with pictures of kids making a difference. One girl bought a dollar store stuffed animal and visited a stranger at the hospital. It was overwhelming the way kids made a difference when they were given the opportunity.  I wrote about it here: http://carriewisehart.com/2015/11/05/what-happened-when-i-gave-40-teenagers-a-dollar-and-told-them-to-make-a-difference/.

Living the kindness lifestyle means every day, every opportunity. As a high school teacher, I see negativity everywhere. In the hallways, in the lunchroom, in the locker room, hurtful words and gossip fill the air. So I started a hashtag to promote POSITIVE gossip called #thirdpartycompliments. The idea is that you talk about people behind their backs, but you do it in a POSITIVE way. That way, the gossip that gets back to them makes their day instead of getting them down.

Our kindness lifestyle leaves a footprint on others, and it encourages them to do the same. Let’s be the movers, shakers, and kind-makers who promote a better, more beautiful world.

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