Have you been “ninja-ed” yet? The movement is spreading across the country, but little is known about where and how it started. It’s a simple concept: during this time of isolation and stress, you leave an anonymous gift, be it goodies, snacks, or trinkets, on someone’s doorstep with a note letting them know they’ve been “ninja-ed.”
But it’s not a new concept to many grade-school children who have been acting as “kindness ninjas” long before COVID-19. One fine example is right here close to home, where Veronica Carrier’s Bella Coola Elementary grade three class was spreading the kindness all through the school year.
“The whole purpose of the project was to ensure that kind acts can be done without any sort of acknowledgment or praise, but more do just to fill someone’s bucket and make them happy,” said Carrier. “ We realized that these single acts not only made our day, but made the person’s day who got ninja’d!”
Carrier’s class started by ninja-ing their fellow students and employees at the school; they made playdoh for the younger groups, made tea for the principal, and wrote notes of appreciation for the secretary. Then the next couple weeks they branched out to kind words all over the post office, hopeful messages for hospital goers, helping bag groceries at the store, picking up trash, and sending some ninja letters to a classmate that left to Victoria.
The actual concept originated appears to have originated in 2016 in Canada, with a kindergarten teacher and mother of two Allie Apels, who lives in Airdie, Alberta. Apels says that with their red headbands, stealth, and sneaky skills; they’re encouraged to engage in random acts of kindness (aka. missions) and good deeds within their home, school, community, and world. Most importantly, she focuses on teaching them how to spread kindness to themselves through mindfulness.
It has since turned into a worldwide movement among young students, especially kindergartners, for at least the past year. Schools across the country have been spreading kindness as sneaky kindness ninjas all over their communities, and teachers were rightfully thrilled with the results.
Locally many people have been thrilled to receive packages from local kindness ninjas, saying it brings a lot of brightness into an otherwise confusing and difficult time.
“It’s been great as my elderly mother (72) is staying home for her safety and to cheer her up they dropped off a surprise bag for her. It made her week,” said local Rhonda Morton. “Yes, we cleaned everything well [due to COVID-19] but this movement is awesome, “giving is receiving!” We made up several bags to secretly ninja others. It’s fun.”
Crystal Legault said she’s been ninja-ed twice and also been a ninja herself three times so far.
“It is so fun,” she shared. “Especially seeing the post of happy faces of the ladies you ninja-ed.”
Concerns have been raised over the practice in the age of COVID-19, but if proper sanitizing is followed the risk can be well mitigated.
For Carrier, she says the concept has made a lasting difference in her students.
“I think the biggest impact this had on the kids was when this pandemic started I had one kid (who was reluctant to be a ninja the whole time) call me up and say “we’ve been practicing the ninja thing up until now. The world needs our kind ninjas to bring hope!”,” she shared. “My heart was so full, this kind ninja act wasn’t just a fluffy activity for the kids, it meant change. I love that it’s taking over. I think the world needs kind ninjas always.”