"Blues in All Flavors" Learning Activities
© Gaye Adegbalola
SONG #10: THE KINDNESS SONG
FLAVOR: FUNK ~~ in the James Brown Style
- This song talks about people having different abilities, challenges, ethnicities and religions. Some differences are easy to identify like when someone is in a wheelchair or has a skin color different than yours. Make a list of differences that are not as obvious. These differences make us unique. What makes you unique?
- The music for this song is often called "funk" because the main accent or beat falls on the first note of the measure. Listen carefully and see if you can hear the "ONE" beat. Try to clap on the "ONE." You would count like this:
ONE, two, three, four, ONE, two, three, four, ONE, two, three, four.
- Here are some quotations about kindness given by young children. Can you make up a definition?
- Sometimes people become ill and their bodies might change due to the illness or possibly due to the treatment. Accidents might change one's appearance, too. Apart from someone dealing with health issues, he or she also has to deal with how others might see him or her. Can you think of a friend or a relative who had a sudden change in appearance due to health problems? What happened? How did you see the person? How did the person see herself/himself?
This is a song about people dealing with cancer and the effects of chemotherapy treatment when their hair falls out. It encourages people to not be ashamed of having a bald head
Can you think of ways you can help someone feel better about his or her physical appearance?
- Several kinds of "meanness" are talked about in the song. Here are some activities to help us better understand:
- The first kind of meanness was based on how people talk. Perhaps the most difficult teasing happens to those who stutter. The Stuttering Foundation has information "Just for Kids" explaining how people stutter, how to get help for stuttering and what to do if you are teased. Everyone, not just those who stutter, should check out this site: http://www.stutteringhelp.org/Default.aspx?tabid=25
- In the song, it says "Lauren's in a wheelchair -- it's so hard to get around." Our government has made rules and regulations to help make it easier for people who are physically challenged to get around. See if you can locate ways things have improved. For example, there are parking spaces that are marked for use by people who have difficulty walking. See if you can find other examples at school.
- Lauren uses a wheelchair to help him get from place to place. Sometimes dogs can be used for help. We may have seen them helping blind people get around, but they can also help the deaf, persons with multiple sclerosis, and many other disabilities. Read this story about Emily and her dog Snickers.
There are many other stories here. Dogs can also be used for therapy -- sometimes just to bring smiles to people. See if you can find someone who trains service dogs and see if you can observe. It may be a good career to consider.
- Have you ever heard of "ginger abuse"? It is a form of bullying directed at people with red hair. There's a TV show called "What Would You Do?" Difficult situations are set up and the viewing audience is asked to submit ideas to solve the problem. In this particular program, "ginger abuse" is shown directed toward a 12 year old boy:
What would you do??
- Much discrimination is due to one's ethnicity or group. Usually we group people by appearances. Here's a game to play to see how well you can identify different ethnic groups. This may be for older children and also for parents and teachers. Click on "Begin Sorting" and follow the directions: http://www.pbs.org/race/002_SortingPeople/002_00-home.htm
- The song continues to tell of meanness toward different religions, meanness against homosexuals, meanness against poor people. Instead of focusing on how to prevent the meanness, let's think about how we can increase the kindness that we show each other. What is kindness? Can you make up a definition? What acts of kindness have you done for someone else in the past week? See if you can name at least 20 kindnesses that you have shown.
RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS
Here are many quotations about kindness. Some maybe difficult to understand and require discussion. The background music is not a blues song.
RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD
Here is information about 40 organized religions and faith groups: http://www.religioustolerance.org/var_rel.htm
In order to be kind to each other, it is important to know about each other. We might not see eye-to-eye, but in all things, kindness is the key.