“I teach second grade. Most people think that my job is instructing my students in reading, writing, arithmetic, science—the basics. That’s certainly part of it. But I also teach life skills that children need in order to grow up to be respectful adolescents and kind adults.
It’s well documented that people (not just children) work best in environments that are safe and welcoming, where there are clear expectations and boundaries. So I intentionally teach my students the attitudes and actions that will help us get along together so that we can learn well together. Civility and courtesy are teachable aspects of kindness. Such small acts as greeting one another politely, holding the door for a classmate in a wheelchair, picking up something a neighbor dropped—these go far toward shaping that safe, welcoming environment where teachers and students treat one another with respect and kindness.
So my students and I practice shaking hands and apologizing for small accidents. We make a point of using polite voices and words with one another. We notice classmates who are behaving kindly and cheer them on.
How are you helping to teach kindness to the world?
This message was adapted from “Not-So-Random Acts of Kindness” written by Karen Burgess-Cassler that first appeared in the January/February 2006 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather) magazine. for articles about faith, action, comfort and community.