Kindess - A Lesson I Ignored In Kindergarten
A friend of mine posted something recently on Facebook. One of Dana’s girls had received a low grade or something. I don’t even remember the details (which drives home a point I have to remind myself of all the time; you won’t remember every little grade on a report card in school or in life).
Her response to her child’s performance went something like this,
Just like their mom, my children may not make the highest grades. But also like their mom, my kids are kind.
The comment stopped me in my tracks. I don’t remember spending much time thinking about being kind as a kid. But I constantly gave thought to my grades. I am a self-motivator and grades were my scale of achievement.
I like to think I exhibited some kindnesses. By accident. I don’t remember discussing this with my mom, a new Christian. But I find myself intentionally working on kindness with my daughter now.
Looking back, I didn’t bully other children (although I probably did some name calling). For the most part, I just ignored those not in my circle. Even if challenged to do so, I am not sure I would have had the courage to step outside of my comfort zone and invite someone to find theirs.
It brings me shame now. When I “friend” all of these former classmates on Facebook, knowing full well I did not always extend a hand of friendship face to face as a child.
After reading this comment from my friend, it also got me thinking about her. She must know herself well, because she is extremely kind. At women’s events, I have seen her often step away from her regular crowd in order to welcome a new face or invite the loner to sit at her table. She teaches me kindness is important.
Now, I can help instill this value in our daughter. Not only because it is a nice thing to do. More than that. We’re looking at a fruit of the Spirit here! That Holy Spirit who moved in the day she asked Jesus to be Lord of her life.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
So, in our house, we make kindness intentional. As Christians, it is not optional. I have matured to a point where I am dropping the grading scale and picking up the kindness meter.
Who can I minister to this week? What lady needs a card or a phone call or a chat over coffee? How can my smile brighten a situation? Do my eyes communicate the compassion I find in the eyes of my Savior?
With Allie, I volunteer in her classroom once a week. I enter her classroom with eyes wide open as well. What kids aren’t fitting in well? Does any child seem sad? Can we discuss certain children or scenarios at home to teach her about including others?
We have been blessed with an excellent teacher, Mrs. H. She makes kindness a top priority too. March is Super Hero month at school. Children brought in photos of an everyday Super Hero they could celebrate.
Allie shared “Marissa the Missionary” with her friends. Marissa raises her own funding to support herself as the chef at a nearby Christian camp. She has a heart for underprivileged kids who attend the camp at various times throughout the year. She chooses kindness over worldly riches.
Mrs. H. had a hero in mind too. A little boy in their class has a rare skin condition called Ichthyosis. Before school even started, we were educated about what causes this condition and the effects of it.
The theme for Super Hero Month is:
And Tyler has become the school’s poster child. He is one cool kid.
All month long, the school is participating in a fundraiser for the First Skin Foundation, which raises awareness for various skin diseases, including Ichthyosis. People can buy little paper super hero capes for $1 and they are displayed around Tyler’s picture. Proceeds benefit the foundation.
An idea straight out of Mrs. H.’s kindness box, with a lot of help from Tyler’s mom.
Every parent-teacher conference, I want to know if my Allie shows kindness in the classroom. We care about her academic performance too. So she doesn’t fall behind in her learning. But take it from me, top of the class is so over-rated. I want to know my child represents the Holy Spirit living inside of her. And maybe, unlike her mother who didn’t know better until later, she’ll find herself bold enough to be the girl who knows intentional kindness includes everyone.