Teacher goes viral for ‘30 seconds or less’ rule on kindness

Teacher goes viral for ‘30 seconds or less’ rule on kindness (Instagram/@always.upper.elementary)
Teacher goes viral for ‘30 seconds or less’ rule on kindness (Instagram/@always.upper.elementary)

An elementary school teacher is making sure that her students learn kindness from a young age.

Natalie Ringold recently shared a video of herself on Instagram teaching her fourth grade class about being kind while using what she calls the “30 seconds or less” rule.

“If somebody can’t change something about themselves in 30 seconds or less, then you shouldn’t be mentioning it to them,” she told her students in the clip. Ringold even listed some examples of things that could be quickly changed, such as an untied shoelace or piece of lint on their shirt.

“But if you comment on someone’s hair color or hair texture or hairstyle or body — they can’t change that in 30 seconds or less,” she continued.

The teacher wanted her students to know the power of words, and demonstrated using a tube of toothpaste. She compared squeezing the tube to telling someone something they can’t change about themselves in under 30 seconds, but just like the toothpaste, it can’t be taken back no matter how much you try.

“So it’s very messy,” she said in her video.

“Students being rude? Try this!” the teacher captioned her post, going on to discuss what her students should have taken away from the lesson including, “once our words & actions are out in the world, we cannot erase them or fully take them back” and “we can choose to fill other people’s ‘buckets’ or do the opposite.”

“I reminded my students that we did this lesson on the last day of school because I want them to remember this concept for the rest of their lives!” her caption continued. “Of course there are small, random exceptions to this 30 second rule, but making this concept concrete for my students has been incredibly helpful!”

Since she first posted the video, it has been seen more than 23 million times and has over one million likes, with many people turning to the comments section to express how much they liked the lesson and wished it wasn’t just children who could learn it but some adults too.

“It is refreshing that someone is teaching these things right from the childhood... We adults should have such classes because I guess we all are forgetting humanity and kindness…” one comment read.

Another commenter agreed, writing: “I think many adults need to hear this message!”

“If they are old enough to be mean on purpose they are old enough to be kind on purpose,” a third commenter pointed out.

One commenter even explained a similar exercise that she used to teach the same concept to her own children using a piece of paper. “I did something similar with my kids. I used a sheet of paper for the same analogy. I let the kids insult the sheet of paper and at each insult I crumpled a bit more the paper and at the end it was in a ball and after that you ‘deroll’ the paper and asked the kids to apologize to it,” the commenter explained.

“Ask them if the sheet of paper will ever be the same after that? Nope. It will not even though they apologize, it will still have wrinkles in it. My kids were speechless.”