Four years ago, the mother said she had repeatedly dropped one of the apples on the floor before her class began. She then introduced the children to the apples, and the class discussed how the two fruits looked the same.
“I picked up the apple I’d dropped on the floor and started to tell the children how I disliked this apple, that I thought it was disgusting, it was a horrible colour and the stem was just too short,” Dutton recalled. “I told them that because I didn’t like it, I didn’t want them to like it either, so they should call it names too.”
The mother said the children were confused at first but followed her lead.
“We really pulled this poor apple apart,” she wrote. “I actually started to feel sorry for the little guy.”
Dutton then passed around the other apple and asked the class to instead say kind words to it.
“I then held up both apples, and again, we talked about the similarities and differences, there was no change, both apples still looked the same,” she continued in her post. “I then cut the apples open. The apple we’d been kind to was clear, fresh and juicy inside. The apple we’d said unkind words to was bruised and all mushy inside.”
At that moment, Dutton said her children appeared to have had a sudden revelation.
“I think there was a lightbulb moment for the children immediately,” she wrote. “They really got it, what we saw inside that apple, the bruises, the mush and the broken bits is what is happening inside every one of us when someone mistreats us with their words or actions.”
Dutton said the purpose of the lesson was to “teach children that it’s not ok to say unkind things to each other and discuss how it makes others feel.”
“We can teach our children to stand up for each other and to stop any form of bullying, just as one little girl did today when she refused to say unkind words to the apple,” she posted. “More and more hurt and damage happens inside if nobody does anything to stop the bullying. Let’s create a generation of kind, caring children.”
Unsurprisingly, Dutton’s re-shared post went viral again, receiving more than 500 shares and a number of supportive comments.
“I use this at the beginning of the year with my year 1 class,” one person wrote. “It’s such a very powerful message!”
“If only we would all act this way!” another quipped.
In an interview with Good Morning America, Dutton revealed that she was “extremely passionate about children’s mental health.”
“I knew from my own childhood that words can hurt, but that we don’t often show the pain on the outside,” she said. “We can go for years or our whole life hiding it. This visual demonstration using the apples always makes people think.”
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