If kindness is going to stick, you have to feel it! Overwhelming research suggests that the best way to develop kindness in young people is by actually feeling it, not just thinking about it. Anti-bullying and kindness weeks/months are well-intentioned, but I’ve come to discover a couple of issues with this approach: 1. They often don’t do a very good job of inspiring action, and 2. Just using terms like “anti” to describe what’s supposed to be a positive week is counterintuitive and has become cliché in the eyes of young people. Understanding this, my team and I decided to create a brand that makes cool clothes and inspires young people to treat others better.
One of the ways DUDE. be nice comes to life is through the DUDE. be nice Project, which is a platform to get people stoked about doing nice things for awesome people in their communities. It encourages people to find those unsung heroes among us and recognize them in a super fun, creative, and meaningful way. Amanda from Loara High School in Anaheim, CA, said, “We always talk about doing nice things, now we are actually going out and doing it."
In our celebrity-crazed society, often times our “heroes” are the people on the covers of magazines or that person with hundreds of thousands of social media followers. The DUDE. be nice Project encourages all of us to “zoom out” and identify the true heroes in our communities—the people who dedicate each day to making others feel special. We’re really good at praising people for outstanding academic and athletic achievement, but we often neglect to recognize people for outstanding character achievements.
The DUDE. be nice Project helps us reprioritize the type of lifestyle that is truly admirable and will create a more happy life for ourselves and others. What if schools made it a priority to recognize compassion, honesty, and simple acts of kindness? Research suggests that young people would be more compassionate, unselfish, and more focused on other people. This initiative is a kick-starter to reinforce good character.
We challenge you to create your own DUDE. be nice moments in your communities and share those stories with us - I think we all could use a little good news sprinkled into our daily lives.