A very exciting thing happened during world kindness week. For the first time, every student at the Missoula Community School embarked on missions at the same time. Three missions were set and completed, many more smiles were found and displayed. Approximately 50 capes of kindness hit the streets. It was funny the couple days following because I heard a few people talk about superhero sitings around town. One person stated, “I saw the superheroes in action! Well, I assumed they were the superheroes of kindness because I saw a bunch of children walking across the bridge wearing capes. I didn’t know where you were going, but I couldn’t help but smile.” These missions were not only exciting because everyone participated, but for a couple teachers this was their first mission, and for others it was the first mission they took the lead. A unique experience was truly had by all.
Mission 1 – One group of children took it upon themselves to revisit Flor Haven, the assisted living home in which the superheroes visited for their second mission. This home holds a special place in one teacher’s heart. She was able to acquire a list of supplies they need, and many parents and children donated the supplies. On the day of the mission, this group took off with a wagon full of pillows, coffee, pencils, you name it, and of course some handmade flowers. They flew down the streets of Missoula to Flor Haven, where they were able to deliver the supplies, the flowers, and of course smiles.
Mission 2 – A second group of children caped up and flew down the street to the Senior Citizen Center, where they surprised some lunch goers with homemade flowers.
Mission 3 – This has become my favorite mission to date by far. There was something so touching about this moment and when I think back to being there I cannot help but feel warm and smile. Two classrooms combined with a goal of delivering flowers to Clark Fork Riverside Manor, a manor found over a nearby bridge. The children spent the morning making tissue flowers and recycled egg carton flowers. Approximately 40-45 flowers bloomed that morning. It was a brisk morning, so the children first decked out in their winter gear and then happily put their capes on. (One girl was very afraid the cape would go under the jacket and she would not be able to fly. We told her that superheroes are good problem solvers and we will find a solution.) This was quite the treck – down to the river trail, over a small portion of the trail, and over the bridge – so the smallest of children got to take turns riding in a wagon. (This is why there are no pictures this round, our hands were full helping transport our fearless superheroes!) It was a beautiful, sunny, make your cheeks and nose pink kind of walk.
When we arrived, it was amazing. The children had only walked into the lunch room in which some of the residents were waiting, and the residents all stood up with smiles and applauded! We had not done a thing except show that we care by visiting. I had to stop for a moment and let a few tears fill my eyes. This is why we have superheroes of kindness. Well, it did not take long after the children were told to pass out their flowers to fill each hand with a little gem. We asked the residents to raise their hands if they did not get a flower, and instead they jumped up while others pointed to the couple of flowerless companions. The number of ‘thank you’s’ the children heard, well, it made me start wanting to thank everyone around me. You could tell the residents did not want us to leave, so we decided to sing them some songs. The children used their best singing voices to sing three school favorites – My Home’s in Montana, The More We Get Together (in which many residents sang with us), and of course our closing circle song, Love Grows.
I just could not bear to have us leave yet. So I did something risky and as of yet unheard of. Suddenly, I started waving the children to the residents, telling them to find someone to give a hug or high five to. Oh my goodness, was this spectacular! As soon as I said it, I thought the children would be hesitant, but no! They just bolted out and started giving hugs and high fives. And the residents bolted out of their seats to return the gift! My favorite was one woman who was sitting in the back who bolted out of her seat, locked her eyes on one boy, weaved in and out of hugs and high fives, until she reached this boy and gently asked him if she could hug him.
It finally became time to leave. Some of the residents followed us out. Many asked (several times) for us to return. Everyone left, and was left, with a big ol’ grin. I do believe the superheroes are going to visit these friends monthly, starting with hopefully a joint lunch next month.
It was fun hearing and seeing some of the things others did for world kindness week. I heard of one family who was going to deliver eggs from their chickens to their neighbors. Another family was going to bake treats to the teachers at her children’s school. For the MCS missions, many children lent extra capes to friends so that everyone could suit up. I was even the recipient of an act of kindness – a fellow teacher brought me a cup of coffee the morning of a training I was putting on (and oh, was that the best cup of coffee, filled with love and thoughtfulness.)
We do hope that you all enjoyed a fruitful world kindness week, and that you continue finding ways throughout your days to bring a smile to someone’s face. This is a great time of year to do so, it can be as easy as showing gratitude to one of the many things or people you are thankful for.