I just keep hearing a voice inside my head saying “It’s all about the kindness.” Now, this may be a sign I’ve been in quarantine too long since I am hearing voices! OR, it may be the voice of something higher than me reminding me there is a battle happening right now and kindness is the weapon. That is an odd way to refer to kindness, as a weapon. It is the antithesis of the very meaning of the word. Let me explain.
On the news right now we are bombarded by images and sounds of really unkind and frankly, scary people in leadership, in our communities, in our world.
Americans turning on each other because one man fans the flames of hate and discord hiding behind a mask of righteousness while serving only himself.
On social media, it is too easy to participate in the behind the screen bravery that allows us to be unkind.
With our education leaders, administrators, parents, co-workers, and even students, we are hearing negative, critical voices saying that what we are doing is not enough, not correct, can’t continue, not effective.
Within our own families and the families of our students, we know there is negativity that comes from the endless cycle of “togetherness” where siblings, couples, parents are all tired of each other.
It is simply too easy to be unkind and to allow the unkindness to cover us like a dark blanket.
Then…I see tiny points of light..of kindness poking through.
The greatest basketball player in the world weeping when shown an image of his teammates saying he was not kind, although effective. Kindness made a difference and broke the heart of a champion. https://twitter.com/i/status/1259664534471614466
A bored actor creates a simple, homemade fake news program to highlight Some Good News, and it becomes an international symbol of all that is right in the world. https://www.facebook.com/SomeGoodNewsSGN/
A child writes a letter to a teacher years down the road and says I am here..graduating…because of you. Thank you.
A dad builds his daughter a graduation stage, or takes her to prom, or to the daddy/daughter dance. https://abcn.ws/2Tje6ip
A mom dances a tiktok with her teenage son, or allows her kids to cover her in makeup, or laughs hysterically at the absurdity of life. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygdB-ZE0daY
When we look for them, the images of kindness battling darkness are literally everywhere. When we add to the light, as a community of HUMANS, the light ALWAYS WINS.
As an educator, I have one fundamental task. To prepare the children in front of me to become the leaders, thinkers, innovators, and workers of the future.
Whether I am behind a computer screen, face to face, or in some other, not yet thought of way, in my role as a teacher, I MUST teach my students to wield kindness as a weapon.
I must model kindness as a weapon in the way I treat my family, my co-workers, my administrators, the parents, my community, and my world.
I must face each daunting what if of this time with the answer of “What if…I offer kindness in response?”
I don’t know about you, but wielding kindness as a weapon is exhausting.
My administrators don’t value me….respond with kindness.
A parent bashes me…respond with kindness.
A student mistreats me or his peers…respond with kindness.
A person on social media rants against me…respond with kindness.
I don’t know whether to wear a mask or return to work or stay home…respond with kindness.
I am scared for my future and want to fight for only myself and my family…respond with kindness.
Can you see how challenging kindness as a weapon is? Can you see the cost it takes to put away our fear, resentment, greed, guilt, anger, and hatred to find a way to make kindness my weapon in every moment and in every situation?
So – I call upon us, the educators, to step into the light and be the leaders. If we are to have a role in changing the world from the darkness, negativity, and anger…it will literally depend on us teaching OUR STUDENTS, so that they can teach others…Kindness is your weapon. Now – go and use it!
Here are some resources on kindness if you need a boost on where, how, or why to begin. Let’s start a kindness revolution!