As a teacher, I have witnessed first-hand that children learn more by watching us than by listening to us. If I turn to sarcasm when I am frustrated or irritated, my students will not learn from me how to handle frustration or irritation properly.
If I find out what happened instead of yelling, I am more likely to solve problems, and children realize how effective that is. If I reveal impatience with myself, I teach my students to be dissatisfied with themselves. If I treat my own mistakes as an ordinary part of life, not loaded with shame or anger, children can learn to cope with setbacks without losing heart. If my students see me having fun helping someone else, they are likely to find pleasure in the same way. When I apologize readily for little goofs, my students can learn to do so as well.
My own power as a role model humbles me, both in the classroom and at home. Children see us as we are. We are all role models. We can be kind because we have received God’s kindness. If we nurture it and spread it, that kindness can ripple outward forever.
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.