We all need a little help sometimes, especially the young ones. And every parent knows that they have the power to influence how their child is feeling. One sentence or a few words could help a child deal with a situation or send them down deeper into a pit of despair.
When Principal Tyson Jones for Mary Moore Elementary School shared his lofty goal with parents, they jumped at the chance to make it come true. Jones wanted to help his some 900 students slow down and find more joy throughout the school day. In today’s world, that goal is like reaching for the stars.
But a group of parents took Principal Jones’s intention to heart. And over a weekend, they volunteered dozens of hours to animate one of the school’s most depressing and downcast rooms – the public bathrooms.
Six moms and two dads donated 37 hours over a weekend to clean up the school’s restrooms and refinish them.
They used a power cleaner to spray down the doors and the stalls, sand down the doors, repaint them black. And then the parents added pictures and inspirational quotes to help the young children at the elementary school feel good about themselves and remind them that they’re loved.
The quotes on the bathroom stalls say things like:
“She believed she could so she did,” “Kindness changes everything,” and “Your mistakes don’t define you.”
Principal Jones may have started with a lofty goal, but his community came through to make it a reality. Now the images of these inspirational bathroom stalls are going viral across the internet. And in the wake of the mass shootings in Florida and Kentucky, schools need a morale boost like this.
To start the year, 31-year-old Principal Jones asked his staff to read “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor.
Inspired by the text, students at the Arlington, Texas school have participated in programs like “Random Acts of Kindness Week” and “Positive Rocks” projects that allowed the second graders to paint rocks with kind words on them. Then they hid them around campus so other students could find them.
“Public school has become pretty tedious,” Jones told TODAY Parents. “The kids are being tested to death. The teachers are overworked. We decided we wanted to hit the brakes on everything this year — still working on things like getting scores up, sure, but going out of our way to look for joy, for the positive instead of the negative.”
When parents approached him about the bathroom project, Jones loved the idea. So he put it on the schedule for the three-day President’s Day weekend when students would not be in class.
Jones had no idea that his project was scheduled to be done just days after Nikolas Cruz gunned down 17 innocent people in Parkland. But when students returned to his school to find the positive quotes, the project took on even more meaning.
“Schools across the nation are grieving,” said Jones. “We are all thinking about how easily it could have been our campus. When the students came in that morning, they were very shocked and very excited. They were so proud of it — all of them wanted to go to the bathroom at the same time!”
What do you think about this project?