Learning to pay it forward

Learning to pay it forward

When a group of kids goes bowling, it gets loud very quickly. But fun, too. Today Ms. Richardson’s class celebrated the end of the academic year at a Hintonburg bowling alley and this parent was happy to volunteer because I haven’t bowled in forever and, well, what fun.

But something else happened too. The kids have been growing plants in the school’s garden over the last few months and their teacher got them to each pot one plant and bring it along with them. On the way back from the bowling alley they were to give it to a local merchant to thank them for being good neighbours.

You have to picture the scene: A bunch of 9-10 year-olds clutching little yogourt containers with a tiny bit of green in it (though some plants were bigger than others; I guess gardening abilities aren’t distributed evenly, and for the record I have no idea where my daughter got hers because I have a brown thumb of death but never mind), walking down Wellington on a mission of gratefulness.

The little group I was responsible for chose a cake shop, a martial arts school, a map store, and the local library. Each child had to step forward, introduce him/herself, and explain that they wanted to offer this plant as a gesture of thanks for being such good neighbours. They also had a little information sheet prepared by their teacher to hand out, that said essentially the same thing.

You should have seen the adults’ faces. Jaws dropped, one after the other. They melted, and it wasn’t because of the heat.

It’s not easy when you’re that age and you’re a little shy to walk up to a stranger, introduce yourself and offer something you grew. But these kids did it.

The recipients thanked me, possibly thinking I was the teacher, the person responsible for this wonderful initiative. But it wasn’t me. I was just in charge of making sure the kids didn’t get run over and walking them back to school once their offerings had been delivered.

The credit goes to Michelle Richardson, who teaches at Connaught Public School. That is her wonderful idea. I’m sure she won’t mind if other teachers want to steal it so don’t be shy.

Know someone who’s done something good you think deserves a little bit of spotlight? Get in touch here.

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