As sad as it is, children can be really mean to each other. We’ve all been kids, we’ve all spent time in school yards. We know this.
What we don’t always realise, however, is that kindness needs to be taught. Empathy doesn’t just spring up from out of nowhere.
Knowing that, one teacher from Tamworth, Australia found a wonderfully simple but effective way to teach these values to her pupils.
And you can do it with your kids. As the teacher explained in a Facebook post which has now gone super-viral, all you need are two apples. Yep, apples.
“Today in one of our classes, I introduced the children to two apples,” she wrote. “We talked about the apples and the children described how both apples looked the same.”
Then the teacher dropped one of the apples on the floor and began running it down.
“I started to tell the children how I disliked this apple, that I thought it was disgusting. I told them that because I didn’t like it, I didn’t want them to like it either, so they should call it names too.”
At this point, the kids started looking at her like she was “insane,” but they went ahead and did as they were told.
“We passed the apple around the circle calling it names, ‘you’re a smelly apple’, ‘I don’t even know why you exist,’ ‘you’ve probably got worms inside you’ etc.”
As she explains, they then passed around the other apple. “We started saying kind words to it, ‘You’re a lovely apple’, ‘Your skin is beautiful’, ‘What a beautiful colour you are’ etc.”
Then the teacher held both apples up to the kids.“Again, we talked about the similarities and differences, there was no change, both apples still looked the same.”
And then she cut the apples open.
“The apple we’d been kind to was clear, fresh and juicy inside. The apple we’d said unkind words to was bruised and all mushy inside.”
Touchingly, all of the pupils seemed to get the point. They understood that words can cause deep wounds.
“I think there was a light bulb moment for the children…what we saw inside that apple, the bruises, the mush and the broken bits is what is happening inside every one of us when someone mistreats us with their words or actions.”
And with such a clear, visual example, it’s easy to see why they grasped the point so quickly – and what the post has been shared a whopping 19,000 times in just 10 hours!
The best bit is that it’s so easy to replicate. The next time you hear your child saying mean words about another child, why not try out the apple trick on them? They’ll be better people for it.
You can check out the inspiring post below.