MAPLEWOOD, Mo. — Big ideas often begin with little steps.
Kids from the Maplewood Richmond Heights Early Childhood Center are marching for a cause.
"We're doing the kindness march," explained 5-year-old Calvin Mathis.
That's right, in a world where it sometimes seems we have lost our way, these kids want you to find kindness.
"Because kindness is something we all have access to, we all can do," said first-grade teacher Dasia Franczyk. "And you can also be kind to anyone."
It all began five years ago, in Ms. Franczyk's first-grade class when the students were reading about Dr. Martin Luther King's March on Washington.
"And I really listened to them," said Franczyk. "One student said, we could do a march. And I said, 'you guys could'. And then I said, 'what would you do it for?' And they said kindness."
So, for the past few weeks, the kids have not only been reading and writing, they've been painting signs.
Six-year-old Ahana Woods made two.
"The first one says being kind is cool," she said. "And the second one says be silly, be honest and be kind."
Another class made special key chains.
"The children have actually designed name tags that say 'hi what's your name?'," said kindergarten teacher Olivia Strazewski.
"When people know somebody's name they always know their name so they can be friends with them," added 6-year-old Josie Tolles.
And what happens when kids aren't kind?
Well, Calvin Mathis said in his class, they've learned to handle that too.
"They hug people and say 'are you ok?'," he said. "And then give them a high five."
This year's theme is celebrating differences. It's promoting the idea that what makes you different makes you beautiful.
"And we talked about how kindness needs to extend beyond different skin color and needs to extend to differences in every way," said Ms. Franczyk.
Since kind words are a kind of music, the march ended with a concert. And some homework for us all.
"Some people hurt people's feelings and that's not cool," Ahana Woods said. "So I just say don't hurt people's feelings because you need to treat people how you want to be treated."
Young people, teaching us old lessons.
The Kindness March, taking small steps in the right direction.
"Kindness really has no limits," said Ms. Strazewski. "And we can be kind to everyone."
Do you know an inspiring person or someone Making A Difference? Let Mike know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More from Making A Difference:
- 14-year-old boy paralyzed in tornado walks out of St. Louis hospital weeks later
- 'It was an answer to a prayer': Illinois Vietnam War vet reunites with man he saved on battlefield 50 years ago
- St. Louis doctors catch Southwest flight with transplanted lungs to help save man's life
- 'It gives me goosebumps': Red Bud team manager becomes senior night star