Christian Bucks is an adorable second grader from Pennsylvania who realized that some of his classmates were lonely during recess time. Having heard about a “Buddy Bench” being used in a German school, Christian suggested to his school administrators that they also install one.
The Buddy Bench is a designated bench on the playground where students who are feeling sad or lonely can seek friendship. This idea might remind you of the Ball Pit project** at University of Wisconsin La Crosse. The idea is to form new friendships between people who happen to occupy the same space at the same time.
We love this story because Christian is following some of the Dance Floor Theory Tips, without even knowing it.
- Fun is the easiest way to change people’s behavior for the better
The Buddy Bench is usually found in bright, fun colors. It is meant to be an inviting space. Even the name, Buddy Bench, sounds like somewhere you would want to be.
- Introductions are more effective when there is a common thread between two people.
Students who sit at the Buddy Bench are looking for friendship or are feeling lonely. The Buddy Bench effectively connects two students who are looking for just that, a connection.
- Creating engagement doesn’t mean you need to be there. It can happen anywhere, at any time.
Christian does not plan on watching the bench every day at recess. He knows that the presence of the bench is enough. There is no event being planned, just a simple, permanent object that facilitates friendship.
- Dance floors are more fun with more friends.
Christian saw a problem: loneliness that was leading to recess no longer being fun. He fixed that problem by helping people make new friends. Consider his school a successful dance floor!
- Don’t over complicate the power of a simple introduction.
The Buddy Bench allows for introductions to happen naturally, not forcefully.
So if a second grader can do it, so can you! Inspired yet?
Read the full story at the Huffington Post.