-understanding and caring when someone is hurt or troubled;
-it is wanting to help even if you don't know them;
-you forgive mistakes;
-you are a friend when someone needs a friend.
The video, the questions, and what was written on the white board inspired this post.
The "Oxford English Dictionary" defines kindness as "the act or quality of being kind"; compassion is defined as the "sympathetic pity and concern for the suffering or misfortunes of others" accompanied by a desire to ease or relieve it.
While being kind to each other every day is something that a community strives for, we sometimes become so engrossed in our full and ever so busy lives, that we may neglect kindness, forget to be compassionate. It is vital that we give pause to these simple yet touching behaviours, specifically "acts of kindness", those selfless behaviour that can either assist or cheer up others. These are actions that we engage in, that may get someone to simply smile or laugh more, that may ease someone's pain or burden, that let's someone know that you care.
As educators, we can have a very positive and powerful influence on both the culture within our schools and on the students who enter our buildings. Therefore, it is imperative that we model the common courtesies of every day life - "please", " thank you", "you're welcome", holding the door open to let people enter. These gestures demonstrate respect for the individual and the environment, which in turn encourages students to regulate their own behaviours leading to more positive interpersonal relationships.
Everyday, I try and make it common practise to say good morning or good afternoon to each student, addressing the student by name, then asking a question of them. The question can be about the course the student is working on, it can be about how the student is faring, it can be about something that I know is of interest to a particular student. I'm confident that most of the students realize that I do this because I care about them as a person, about their stories, about the potential they each possess. I want all the student to know that they are valued; that they realize, or come to understand that NSLC has a culture that is safe, caring and inclusive. This is a culture that all members need to promote and sustain.
I now want to share 2 acts of kindness, of compassion, that came to me via staff and students:
A short while ago, as I was sitting in my office late in the afternoon on one of those long, less than stellar days, Jennifer, a member of the teaching staff, came into my office and presented me with a hand full of notes, notes that her students had written for me. She gave me the notes and promptly left. Each note contained 1 line, 1 simple thought, and as I read through them, I was deeply touched by what the students had written. Encouraging comments like, 'the principal lets us wear our hats'; 'she is always smiling'; 'she always says hi and knows my name'. This action, and these notes, cheered me up; the students had let me know I was cared for; it made my day! In what other profession can something as wonderful as this happen?
Each day I go on a "walk-about"; I go into each classroom and observe our keen young learners. I chat with the students, inquire about their learning, talk with the teachers. On Tuesday, after one of my walk-abouts, I returned to my office, and there on my desk was a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a card addressed to me. The bouquet and card were from my support staff; it was their means of expressing appreciation for me as leader/principal/boss. How wonderful! Again, my heart was touched.
Acts of kindness and compassion can be like a chain reaction, a "pay it forward", so to speak. Another video to show students is "Watch this.... You will definitely share this."
November 13th is the date established for celebrating "acts of kindness".