The charter school my children attend promotes learning 9 different moral character traits that change monthly. I volunteered to create a bulletin board each month that would help explain and highlight the different moral character traits. One of the traits is encouragement. I wanted to do something that would encourage the kids who really need it, but I couldn’t single out those kids.
I decided to make little notes with encouraging words on them that the kids could pull off of the bulletin board and give to someone who they felt needed encouraging. This could be a classmate, a teacher, a sibling, parent, grandparent, neighbor, friend etc. I wasn’t sure the kids would feel free to remove these notes from the board.
I came up with about 50 different sayings and photocopied them on colored paper. I stapled about 400 of these notes onto the bulletin board, forming a mosaic-like picture out of the various colors of notes. I made the sun, rainbows, and flowers out of these notes and the kids had to read through them to find the perfect note to give away. By reading through these notes, they learned what an encouraging word sounds like. They were instructed to only take one per day, so that others would have the opportunity to select a note as well.
One never knows how effective bulletin boards are, but I sure found out! I had to replace these notes (400 of them) morning and night for the first 10 days, and daily for the rest of the month! (I was determined to keep up with the demand, after all I started it.) The teachers and staff were totally amazed! Parents were telling me about the notes their kids were giving and getting. The board would be mobbed in the morning and it became something positive to start out the day. The janitor said he found very few that he had to pick up and throw away. This became bigger than even I had imagined.
Six months later, I overheard a child say to their parent “I wonder if they will put up the little notes again for us to give away.” This was a lot of work (more than I had expected) but that comment warmed me to the toes. I learned a lot about encouragement. I learned there is a huge need for encouraging words, more than anyone realizes, and not just for the kids. I also learned that we need visuals, and written words and examples to promote moral character, because it doesn’t just happen. Mass media does little to promote moral character. This is where parents and schools and churches have to work together to relay the right messages to our kids because we are the only ones that have their best interest at heart. And I’m pretty sure the kids learned a bit about how to be encouraging.
Submitted by Anonymous
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