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Bradley Stoll: Teacher of Kindness, Compassion, Connectedness, and Math
Apr 4, 2015: Living and Teaching Experiments in Daily Kindness



Read: Call Transcript (Also: Being The Change, Changes The Being)

This Saturday, we will hear from a teacher and deep experimenter in kindness. For more than 15 years, Bradley has been a math teacher at the Harker School in San Jose. There he continually creates events and service opportunities for the school community to engage in deeper, values-based learning. Last fall, Bradley ran a 21-day Kindness Challenge with students that he tutors, and he is now gearing up to run a 21-day kindness challenge for teachers at his school, where teachers will practice random acts of kindness directed towards their students. His own loyal following of students attest to his impact: Former students frequently visit his classroom just to say hello. He attends plays and concerts that feature his former students in order to support them. As Bradley See full.
This Saturday, we will hear from a teacher and deep experimenter in kindness. For more than 15 years, Bradley has been a math teacher at the Harker School in San Jose. There he continually creates events and service opportunities for the school community to engage in deeper, values-based learning. Last fall, Bradley ran a 21-day Kindness Challenge with students that he tutors, and he is now gearing up to run a 21-day kindness challenge for teachers at his school, where teachers will practice random acts of kindness directed towards their students. His own loyal following of students attest to his impact: Former students frequently visit his classroom just to say hello. He attends plays and concerts that feature his former students in order to support them.

As Bradley once said: “A friend asked me about my legacy and what I want it to be. I've never thought much about that and, after some thought, I don't want to worry about it. . . . The world was surviving before my Earthly presence and it will survive (for several billion years, anyway) after I leave. I don't want a legacy. I want to affect, or rather, infect, people right here, right now, with kindness, compassion, and love.”

Ordinary, everyday experiments in kindness for Bradley include ones in which he has practiced inner change through compassion with the homeless -- including making 47 bag lunches with his wife and 2 children, and spending a day in San Francisco giving them out, as a family, to the homeless; literally giving the shirt off his back to a homeless woman who complimented him on the shirt (a ServiceSpace t-shirt otherwise prized by Bradley as a valued gift); inviting a homeless man to lunch, offering him a warm shower and clean clothes from Bradley’s home, and then driving the man back to the place where they met (full story in this blog post, under the "Waffle Wednesday: 21 Days of High School Kindness" heading).

Bradley graduated from a small high school in Minnesota and soon joined the Navy's Nuclear Power Program. He spent six years in the Navy, the last four as a nuclear-trained electrician aboard the USS Texas, a nuclear powered cruiser. For a two-month period during the Gulf War, his ship patrolled the Strait of Hormuz, a region between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. After an honorable discharge, he earned a bachelor's in mathematics and was chosen as the outstanding senior math student, before earning his master's degree as well.


Five Questions for Bradley

What Makes You Come Alive?
Witnessing the ripple effects of an act of kindness is the most beautiful experience I can have; it's just magical. Often times though, I must be content with just imagining the chain of kindness that links us all together. When I can serve in a capacity of anonymity, I find more meaning in my actions.

Your Greatest Inspiration?
I was asked this same question a couple of weeks ago. Actually, the question was, "Who is your greatest inspiration?" That's a question that is unanswerable for me. The best I could say is my family, friends, students and strangers:). But if I replace Who with What...hmmm, that is a difficult question, but one that I can attempt to answer. Witnessing change in others can inspire me in a couple of ways. First, it gives me the desire to make change within myself. Secondly, at times, it can inspire me to keep doing whatever it is I'm doing.

An Act of Kindness You'll Never Forget?
The tenth anniversary of Lori's death just passed. Lori was living without shelter up near Vancouver, WA. Kelly Gorby saw Lori on standing in the cold one winter day. Having a newly purchased winter coat, Kelly pulled over and offered it to Lori. The universe conspired to have a newspaper photographer nearby to witness this act of beauty and capture it in its stillness. It was only because of this that I learned of Lori's death a few weeks later, as the newspaper ran the story: An Offer of Warmth on a Cold Day. I will forever be indebted to Kelly for her kindness.

One Thing On Your Bucket List?
I would love to serve in the Gandhi Ashram one summer. But, I actually don't have much of a bucket list. I'm trying not to want for anything, I guess.

One-line Message for the World?
"Let go of your hate and be kind, dammit!" OK, maybe that was a bit too strong. "Please be respectful of all living beings and things."


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