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The road to happiness is not paved with high-fives. The end of someone’s sorrow will not be solved with a mere smile. These days, people tend to exaggerate the benefits of random acts of kindness, praising them as being the end to pain and unhappiness. Regardless of the heroism, most likely we will not find something that will garner such results, especially if we are looking towards random acts of kindness to do so.
As of recent, there has been a large offensive force pushing for students to engage in the random acts of kindness movement. For example, Pinterest pages are dedicated to dainty ways of delivering these acts of kindness, and schools have taken after the idea.
From telling students to high-five others that are walking down the hall to painting the bathrooms with sayings that are meant to inspire optimism, the school has been primarily trying to impact students by fostering an environment of warmth. However, while well-intentioned, this push is misguided and misses the mark when it comes to proliferating happiness within a community.
The bigger picture is that there are students that are lonely amongst their peers and feel disconnected from the school that they are a part of. In order to seek these students out and help them feel connected, we need to meaningfully integrate them among their peers.
Most likely, a high-five will not manage to bring them out of their realm of detachment, but a caring mind might.
Instead of promoting random acts, we should promote meaningful acts of kindness—ones that show students that we care about them as an individual and do not see them as just another person walking down the hall. In spite of that, however, there is still value in simple acts, it is the intention that matters.
For some people, small acts of kindness can bring them up and make their day or week even better. Nonetheless, we want long-term results that can ensure someone’s happiness not just for a week, but for the entirety of their time in high school.
Going outside of a comfort zone is necessary when delivering meaningful acts of kindness, and while it will not be comfortable, it is one of the biggest impacts toward creating a change. Nevertheless, in order to be conscious of the effect that we have on our community, we have to actively be a part of it.
Henceforth, as an active individual, one will become more connected to the people around them, and that can give one a new sense of purpose. Where in contrast, random acts separate a person from those around them, lacking the depth necessary to see what someone is going through.
If you go out each day with the ambition of spreading joy, we will see a difference; ask someone how they are feeling and talk to people that you would not otherwise talk to. Find someone that is having a bad day or just needs to be picked up and inspire joy within them. Give them hope—do not try to plaster over someone’s sorrows with a high-five.