Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Wakefield-Marenisco students act out multiple lessons in kindness


[email protected]

Wakefield - Shouting was encouraged last week at the Wakefield-Marenisco K-12 School.

That's because, on Oct. 20, kindness guru Brian Williams was in the gym, leading elementary students in repeated series of chants that likely echoed throughout the school.

Williams is the founder of Think Kindness, based in Reno, Nevada, and he is on a mission to spread kindness to schools throughout the nation and beyond.

As a 4th-degree black belt, he even applies ninja-style moves - much to the delight of his audience - to his highly-animated presentation titled "Think Kindness: Ready for a Challenge."

But he emphasized, "I don't think you need to be a black belt to be a kindness ninja."

Dressed in a baseball cap, T-shirt and jeans, Williams' message to the kids was: "You can change the world."

He made clear that "big acts of kindness" are not necessarily needed. As he said, a whole lot of small rocks or snowflakes can result in a big pile over time.

And they matter, he said, because "happy people make people happy."

Hence, the first rule he had kids shout back was "Start small."

He drew lots of laughs when he coached the kids to point at each other and their teachers and call out "You're beautiful!"

The second rule was "Be Brave" because, as Williams said, "Sometimes when we do an act of kindness, it can be scary."

As one example, he recalled a woman losing her necklace in a garbage can and fearing that, if he helped her to dig through the mess, it might cause his friends to laugh at him.

"If you want to be a world changer, you've got to be brave," he said.

The third rule was simply: "Be kind."

Williams then cheered the students into repeating back to him "I will make the world better than I did yesterday."

What it comes down to, he said, is "Every day you have one mission."

The goal is to look for opportunities, even small ones, to make the world a better place.

He said that could mean anything from picking up some litter to sharing a compliment.

Throughout his presentation, Williams had six students who volunteered to help him illustrate his messages. They were Abbygail Flye, Sven Jacobson, Ty Leone, Mason Lopac, Jaxon Sordahl and Virginia Weber.

In one little skit, he had Abbygail pretend to be a student having a bad day while the other five kids slipped encouraging notes into her backpack.

Williams also said that everyone is worthy of acclaim in some way.

He asked students to point to classmates who were good in sports or making people laugh or who among them one day could be president. Fingers pointed in different directions with each question.

"Everybody's good at something," said Williams. "Nobody's good at everything."

Finally, he said, "If you're really good at something, then your goal is to help someone else be good at it."

As his final objective, Williams - who authored the book "Kindness Ninja" - challenged the kids to engage in 5,000 acts of kindness by Christmas..

At the end of his presentation, he asked, "What are you going to do?"

"Change the world!" the kids shouted.

Afterward, Head Teacher Brandon Makela presented a school T-shirt to Williams, who high-fived students as they left the gym to return to classes.

Williams' visit to all six schools within the Gogebic-Ontonagon Intermediate School District was made possible by a $5,000 grant to the Gogebic County Community Mental Health Authority from the Jonathan A. Erickson Fund and Gogebic Range Health Foundation.

For more information, see