Today I am choosing to write about how our actions, both big and small, have a lasting impact on those around us.
I have always been blessed to work with some amazing people. One of the teachers in my district, Mrs. O’Neil shared a beautiful lesson in kindness. She and a colleague who both teach fifth grade decided that it was time to put aside math and writing for a moment and teach students about what it means to be kind.
In order to fully understand the magnitude of the lesson and its impact you will need to read her newsletter. The link is here for you….
Please take a minute to review the lesson. It truly is extraordinary. Lessons like this CAN and SHOULD be used in our schools. They are essential. This post is deeply connected to the content Mrs. O’Neil presented in her newsletter.
When is it time to prioritize kindness?
Why should kindness matter above math or writing?
How can we embed kindness into our daily lessons?
What can we do to make the world a better place?
The four questions above are not simple ones, nor do I feel they can be answered in one blog. Especially by me. I am, after all, one person. But I truly believe that one person can make a difference. The reality is that KINDNESS MATTERS! The other reality in today’s classrooms is that children feel overwhelmed, worried, anxious, lonely, and afraid like never before. We must do everything in our power to help our struggling students – our students who struggle emotionally.
Remember this? Not only was Maslow right on with his work, but this graphic gives examples so that you may better understand my point. Look carefully. I believe that children – not all children but many children suffer terribly due to not having the bottom parts of the pyramid fulfilled successfully. If children do not have food or warmth at home, they will never move up the pyramid in their emotional or cognitive ability levels. This is where too many people (in my opinion) have become critical of thy neighbor. Too many people, in my opinion, look the other way and chose not to get involved. They chose not to donate their coats so that children can have warmth or assist and neighbor who is hungry. People chose to look the other way during bullying or uncomfortable situations. There is evidence all around us of those who can criticize but not mobilize. Children are our most precious asset so we do we so often look the other way?
The emotional needs of children cannot be met in one fell swoop. It takes an army. It takes a nation. It takes people caring for one another through kindness and the ability to put another person’s needs ahead of their own.
What can and will we do to change the trajectory of our nation’s children?
Can we provide food and shelter for all of them? Can we provide safe schools, secure classrooms and no more fear? Can we create a sense of belonging and love on our district campuses? Can there be respect for one another where we are proud of the achievements of others, even if it means putting others before ourselves? Can there be fulfillment for all of us, knowing we have done everything we can to support each other?
I think we can. Let’s start by practicing kindness.