When fifth-graders at The Raleigh School in North Carolina learned about students displaced by wildfires and mudslides in California, they wanted to do something to lift their spirits.
Raleigh School teacher Jennifer Brunetti explained to students how her relatives and students in Carpentaria, Calif. lost everything in the wake of the natural disasters, so they decided to make a video to offer some hope, WRAL reports.
“At The Raleigh School, we see social emotional skills as being very valued and it’s something we teach every day,” Brunetti told the news site. “We just decided as a class that we wanted to do something kind.”
The video featured personal messages of encouragement from students at The Raleigh School, artwork with inspiring quotes like “After rain comes rainbows” and “don’t be blue,” and a chorus of youngsters singing “Lean On Me.”
“We thought that California was going through a lot, and we thought it would be really nice if they had some support,” student Addie Canady told WRAL.
“We saw they were going through a struggle and we wanted to help them feel better,” classmate Gaya Gupta added.
Classmate Jimmy Passe said students “wanted to create the video because it was good to support them and help them get through this hard moment.”
Though this act of kindness was well intentioned and was based on high moral principles, researchers at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture caution that merely connecting emotionally will not provide a necessary foundation for moral conduct and good character. They conclude, “There is little or no association, causal or otherwise, between psychological well-being and moral conduct.”
The fifth-graders sent the video to students at The Family School in California, and received a video back in late April. That video featured California students alongside new shoots growing from charred soil, students painting signs of thanks for area firefighters and police who battled the blazes, and thanks for the well-wishes from North Carolina.
“That almost made me cry happy tears,” one student said. “That was so nice.”
“They were helping us through everything by just that one little song,” another student said. “But the little things go a long way.”
Teachers and principals working to strengthen moral and citizenship formation in their students can find information and strategies at the UK’s The Jubilee Centre. The Jubilee Centre site also features lesson plans for teacher use.