One of the most elementary and simple ideas that we teach our youth at all grade levels is also one of the character traits that we as adults struggle with: Kindness. At a young age, our students read about making good choices, we encourage them to celebrate one another, and be kind to everyone we encounter. Making good choices, being open minded, admitting when we make mistakes; all character traits every parent hopes for their child as they come through our classrooms and ultimately in our society.
We as an elementary school, take this responsibility very seriously. Which is why when a student wavers from this path of kindness, often times teachers and administrators take the lead and “correct” these behaviors, leading the student back to the path of “kindness.” This is one of the most challenging yet rewarding parts of being in education, especially as an administrator in an elementary school. With our students, we communicate to the parent/guardian as to what happens on campus, we share what the plan of intervention may be to help the student succeed or make better choices, and we start fresh the next day. The last thing a student hears when they leave my office from making a poor choice is this: the best thing about making a mistake is that we can learn from it starting now. It is when we choose not to learn from the mistake, is when we address the problem with more steps. Most of the time, the message is received; the student chooses kindness moving forward, and everyone involved is better for it.
It is interesting to put these life lessons in the scope of adulthood. This time of year, we as community members, are challenged to choose kindness in a variety to ways. We model to our children how to be kind to one another, we donate to charitable causes, we give to others in need; the timing of these good deeds always seems to be just in time and centered around the holidays.
As a parent, I want to model making the right choices for my own ‘kiddos. I want to show empathy towards others, be an example of patience and understanding, be someone that they know they can come to with everything life has to offer. We, myself included, want to protect our children from all the evil and negativity in the world, which is human nature and what causes every parent anxiety about being just that, a parent. It is amazing to think though for a second, if we just asked ourselves, what is the ONE thing you would want your child to learn in life, more than likely it would be: to be kind.
Kindness is an amazing thing. When we choose kindness, we get so much more; it is paired alongside with other positive feelings: laughter, joy, hope, love, fun, humor, delight, and wonder. Basically, all the good qualities that make life so amazing to begin with. This message is what our teachers are teaching the youth within our community. It is up to us, as the community to continue to model this vitally important cause; choosing kindness.
With that, I wish you and yours a very merry and spirited holiday season filled with kindness and hope as we embark into the latter part of our calendar year and into 2019.
Principally Speaking is a monthly article, contributed by principals from Escalon Unified School District sites, throughout the school year. It is designed to update the community on school events and activities