Andy Smallman, head of the Puget Sound Community School in Seattle, has come up with a social innovation that’s ingenious, inspiring, and infectious. He calls it “kindness class.”

Each week students in the online course get an assignment. In week one, they do something kind for themselves. In week two, they do something kind for someone they love. And so on. Along the way, participants do something kind for a neighbor, provide something wonderful for someone to find, let everyone go ahead of them for a week, and do something kind anonymously.

For more information, check out the site and this Seattle Times article. In a world where people are seeking purpose and connection, kindness classes could be an idea whose time has arrived.

9 Responses to “Idea of the day: Kindness class”

  1. Didn’t this used to be the job of parents? not that this isn’t a great thing to do, but does show where are as a society that this is being done in the schools instead of (in addition to?) at home. Just a statement of our culture.

  2. Susan RoAne says:

    Three Cheers for Puget Sound Community School! In the midst of the “It’s all about me, all the time” world, how important to review and renew a commitment to kindness. It’s a word (much like “nice”) that’s lost its cache in the decade of snark but, in the long run, kindness is what counts. And yes, it must be taught, reinforced and rewarded.

  3. If others want to join the “class,” it’s free and starts tonight. Contact me at [email protected].

    And just to be clear, the idea here is to provide interested people an idea (or a theme) each week for a kindness act they are encouraged to perform. It’s less about “teaching” kindness (btw, I think kindness is modeled, not taught), and more about encouraging people to be mindful about doing kind and meaningful things that help them feel connected to other people.

  4. George says:

    Wow, what I great idea! I would love to do something like that!

  5. nikki says:

    As one of the “students” in Andy’s kindness class, I just want to share how the effects of this class extend way beyond the online classroom. The students range widely in age, so this is not the traditional kind of classroom with walls. I myself was inspired to share news about this class with friends in other states and countries. And like magic, my husband was inspired to share healthy Theo chocolate bars as his acts of kindness 🙂

  6. C. A. Hurst says:

    Thank you, Dan, for posting this.

    Andy, just checked out the website for PSCS. You are doing a great job!

  7. Ed says:

    I have also been one of Andy’s kindness ripple agents or possibly he is one of mine – I forget. There are many small collections of individuals who promote kindness by being kind. Andy started the Kindness Class method as a way of raising kind awareness and in the hopes of causing a “butterfly effect” of kindness around the world. I’ve not seen many butterflies recently but I can certainly vouch for the fact that Andy’s mentoring is felt right around the world. I live in England and as part of my kindness I invite people to join the online class.

    Actually, most people who join the class are kind people already and do not need much prompting to perform additional random acts of kindness. The attraction for me is the discussion about how we can become even more kind and cause a ripple effect of kindness so that a small gesture we make may change some stranger’s mood sufficiently so they fail to kick the cat when they get home. Being consciously kind takes practice and this class allows you to practice it and compare notes with others. This shared experience is in turn a kindness to ourselves.

    So don’t wait for your parents to teach you kindness – join the class.

  8. I love it! and I practice this regularly, everyone should!

  9. Wow, what I great idea! I would love to do something like that!