Wednesday, November 27, 2019

#ThankfulThursday: Japanese Students Learn How to Choose Kind This Fall

Japanese Student Group Visiting the Dales in late October
Photo Credit: Kristine Dale 

The Dale family, along with family hosts from their school district, hosted Japanese students and their chaperones for a week in October. They had the opportunity to experience all the wonders of Fall in southern New York. From fall leaves to American students, the Dales proved to be great hosts, immersing the Japanese students in all things America. Each Japanese student received a copy of the book, "We Are All Wonders," which in the Japanese-translated version, the title is "Wonder, You Are The Sunshine." One chaperone, Kevin Blackburn, wrote about the Japanese students' experience in New York, and what a huge positive impression that Jeremy had on all the students. Keep on doing this great work, spreading the message, near and far, of kindness, because you never know when it will have a global impact.

Dales and the Two Japanese Students that Stayed With Them in Late October
Photo Credit: Kristine Dale

Here are Kevin's words translated into English about his experience visiting Horseheads, NY, where the Dale family lives.

"Encountering Kindness in the Foliage and Cultural Events of Autumn"
By Kevin Blackburn, 2019-20 Visit Chaperone
Carving Pumpkins at the Dales for Halloween!

Responding to a request from Horseheads that has spanned quite a length of time, this year we changed the time of this and future years’ visits to the autumn season. In a mere 8 days the visit group attended a middle school soccer match, navigated a cornfield maze, hiked a naturally endowed gorge, and experienced a real Hallowe'en [sic] among many other activities that gave us a full taste of Autumn. For the students, the most important thing was their encounters with their host families and with the students at the middle school they visited. I, too, had a very important encounter. It was with Jeremy, the oldest son in the Dale family. He is a completely normal young man. He has hopes and dreams, and he has trials. But Jeremy has had a facial difference since birth, and in spite of enduring more than a dozen reparative surgeries you can still see differences at first glance. He likely has been bullied or discriminated against, yet he has grown up to be a fine young man. Jeremy visits elementary schools and promotes the CHOOSEKIND movement to the students.

Dinner out with friends and the Dale Family
Most people react with surprise and a sense of distance when they encounter another person who is different. As a non-Japanese living in Japan, I have seen that reaction many times myself. What matters is the decision each person makes after that. What Jeremy is promoting is that “when you have a choice of being right or being kind, choose kindness.” The CHOOSEKIND movement spread following the American hit book and movie entitled “Wonder” (Japanese title: Wonder, You are the Sunshine”). Jeremy’s family gave each of visit group members a summary of the movement. Beginning with the two students who stayed with the Dales, all of the students learned to chose kindness not only in their interactions with Jeremy, but also with the little children they encountered during their visit to the elementary school. During our 8-day stay, Jeremy and many other residents of Horseheads chose kindness, and immediately set about welcoming us as a part of their family.

Thank you so much to the Dales and Kevin, for sharing this experience with our CCA Family! 

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