Today is Stop Bullying Day. Raising awareness for bullying is necessary, and I am against all forms of bullying. However, I’ll see your Stop Bullying Day and raise you a Start Kindness Day.
Consider these things I’ve overheard this week:
“Why do you care?”
“She’s so dumb.”
“That girl’s haircut is the worst.”
“That dumb*** teacher wrote me up.” (Don’t worry; I know that I am much more a smart*** than a dumb one so I don’t lose sleep over comments like this).
I’ve noticed a trend in students the last few years; they are saying more and more unkind things. Then I get on social media and see where they learn to say unkind things. This election has brought out the worst in adults, and our students are paying the price. Monkey see; monkey do. Stop monkeying around, not only for the sake of our own souls but for the sake of the next generation.
Will you commit to being kind in your speech?
Kindness extends beyond words to our actions. Momma always said, “Actions speak louder than words.” More often than not, I see students drop books without anyone offering to help, doors unintentionally being closed on people, and pushing and shoving without regard to those around. But from time to time, I see students hold a door open, invite an outsider to be in their group, help pick up dropped papers, or volunteer to run an errand during class (okay, this could be just to get out of class). When I see these things, they stand out to me; this is sad. Kindness should be the norm, not the exception.
Will you commit to being kind in your actions?
Last semester a kid came in my class with a hat on; hats are against dress code. I could immediately tell that this generally quiet student had an extremely short haircut and deduced from his demeanor that he was trying not to draw attention to himself. Of course, someone (there’s at least one in every class) loudly asked, “John Doe, did you get a haircut?” The student replied yes and went to tell how a boy in his scout troop lost his hair during chemo so in the meeting the night before the entire troop shaved their heads. Later in the day I spoke with the boy from the troop who has cancer, and he told me about the meeting while beaming ear to ear. Kindness matters.
Today was a long day at work – longer than normal. Great classes – long day. The day ended with me writing a student up (see above unkind comment). I was a mix of tired and discouraged by the end of the day and decided to check my box in the office to see if my Christmas bonus, which I have still not received, was there. I instead found a better bonus – a handwritten note from a former student sent through the mail thanking me for investing in her life and taking time to pray with her before a college interview. The fatigue, frustration, and data disappeared with that one card. Kindness matters.
A friend who teaches in Canada recently told my PLN (personal learning network) about a student at her school who is battling cancer. (Digression: why do people who are faced with hardship seem to find kindness easier?) Becca decided she wanted to use her time on earth encouraging people to be kind and challenged people to commit an act of kindness for her since she is no longer able to walk making it difficult for her to do kind deeds. Brooke and I participated in this challenge on New Year’s Day by taking food to our local firefighters. I would challenge you to do this also and tag it on social media with #beccatoldmeto. You can check out Becca’s facebook page or read more about her in this CNN article. Kindness matters.
And because I love a good country song, I’ll close us out this week with a song.
Write a note to someone who has made a difference in your life.
Say something kind to someone who needs encouraging.
Do a random act of kindness.
Bring coffee to the teacher in Room 128.