Kindness can sometimes seem in short supply, especially if you watch the news or read the paper on a daily basis. It can sometimes feel like humanity as a whole is cruel and uncaring, but 98-year-old Margaret Pederson wants to prove that’s not the case at all by leading a kindness movement in her home state of Minnesota.
To do so, she’s teamed up with Minnewaska High School in Glenwood, near Alexandria, where she’s working with high school seniors to spread positivity across the school and beyond.
“You can’t read very much in the paper until you know that there’s a wrong thing going on in the country,” Pederson said, according to MSN. “I had [kindness] in my bones when I came here.”
Pederson believes the older generation has a responsibility to teach those younger than them about kindness and to instill that quality in them.
“We probably haven’t done a very good job as seniors to give them what they should have gotten from us,” she said. “So start right now. Don’t wait a minute longer.”
To represent the movement, Pederson enlisted the teenagers as well as other members of the local community to help finger-knit a “Be Kind” chain, an experience that ended up bonding everyone closer together.
“It takes a pretty special person to bring 60 football players together, teach them how to finger knit and keep them all as a group and engaged all night long,” said school counselor Britt Rose.
Those in Pederson’s Be Kind group worked with Rachel’s Challenge, named after Columbine shooting victim Rachel Scott, who also believed in practicing kindness.
“This idea of a chain reaction, that of if one person was kind everybody would follow,” explained student Annika Stensrud.
Pederson’s efforts have already paid off, with school officials reporting seeing kindness notes in the hallways as well as students helping one another through difficulties.
“To work with all of our kids, from our kindergartners all the way up to our football team, and to make an impact with all of them is a pretty incredible deal,” elementary school Principal Sarah Suchy said.
Margaret Pederson herself said she had no plans to stop her efforts anytime soon and that people around the country were working together to further this kindness movement, adding, “As long as you remember that you have to keep going.”