Friday, March 13, 2009

Love Your Face!

I was reading the Chicago Tribune today and I came across this article about these two students at Purdue University who spend roughly two hours a day standing outside a building on campus giving compliments to everyone who passes. Genuine, heartfelt compliments.

This story made me think. Why is this newsworthy? Because we, as a society, have become more and more guarded with our kindness and compliments. People are suspicious of these guys because they think they're in it for something -- girls, fraternity membership, something. In actuality, the guys just think there's too much negativity in the world and decided to do their part to add just a little bit of kindness and sunshine to people's lives.

I am inspired by this story and it's got me thinking that maybe I should try something similar. What would it hurt for me to, say, stand outside my class between periods and compliment kids as they enter the room or even walk by? How would the kids react? Who knows? I'll report back with the results of this new social experiment.


Peter said...

Whenever I am truly impressed with an aspect of someone (beauty, clothing, skill, etc.) I always make a point to tell them. I once did not compliment a lovely African American woman on her stunning skin color (such a gorgeous shade of brown) and I've always regetted it. So, ever since then, I make a point of complimenting. So far it's brought nothing but joy for both me and the person being admired.

Danielle Mari said...

It's so funny you wrote about this. I joined another teacher and helped her to take 24 sixth graders on a field trip for their Global Perspectives course. As they had been studying France, they went to a French restaurant. (Ordered in French and everything!). Then we went to the local art museum and enjoyed a tour of French art over the years. The students impressed the staff at both venues with their maturity and respectful attitudes. The woman at the bookstore told me that she couldn't believe how they replaced the books they had examined, tidied the stacks of merchandise they had pillaged, and returned every toy to its rightful place. The restaurant staff complimented me on how well the conducted themselves when ordering, how they threw all their trash away, and how great their table manners were. Nobody told the students this. The bus driver, on the other hand, thought nothing of hollering at one kid when he crawled out of his seat to grab a water bottle he'd dropped as it rolled away. The same driver thought nothing of screaming at everyone to "shut up" when we crossed a rail road track. The other teacher and I talked about this and decided to put ourselves outside of the bus and to shake every student's hand and to say something positive s/he did that day. Sometimes we just complimented someone for looking good, sometimes for throwing away garbage, sometimes for listening politely when being yelled at! The kids LOVED it. They were extremely touched and fairly bounced into the building. Have fun with your experiment! They won't know what hit 'em!

NICKI said...

An act of kindness truly can go a long way - but it has to be heartfelt. Random compliments that aren't genuine may even do more harm than good.