I really am looking forward to everyone's feedback on this...
When I found this "random acts of kindness" section of the board I was very, very happy and excited. There is so often a tendency to focus on the negative in life; I know the media loves to tell us about all the bad things happening. Sometimes we can forget the good.
When I started to try and think about a story I could share in this section, I became depressed because I couldn't think of one. I don't think it's necessarily because they don't happen but because I am out of practice when it comes to *seeing* them!
So I have vowed to work on my pessimistic perception, and to dig out my "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books.
Here is my question to you all: do you have a nice experience about school that you can share? There has been a lot of focus in the news lately about bullying and teen suicide. There is a campaign that says "It gets better" - but why can't it also be good right now? Do all children really have to ride out the misery of adolescence and hope life picks up later?
I have a bittersweet story of kindness to share. You see, almost all my good memories of school are of the teachers, not the students. But on one magical afternoon in 6th grade, the kids who spent most of their time making me miserable actually found a glimmer of human kindness and made me feel like I was special.
We had gone on a field trip to our nearby national park. We were all hiking up Mount S_. Not a full on hike and it was a mount not a mountain
but still a heck of a walk - the humidity changed with every switchback and there seemed to be a bajillion switchbacks. I was not an especially athletic child. I always came in last when we ran the mile in PE, and the kids always mocked me for it. Now hiking up the hill, I was slowly but steadily falling behind again. I trudged along, lungs burning with fatigue while my face burned with embarrassment. No one was talking to me; I was praying no one would notice how far behind I was and jeer at me. I even hoped to fall far enough behind that I could just quit and slink back down since no one cared if I made it and I was never going to make it anyway etc. etc. You can see where my thoughts were.
I was so lonely and frustrated and embarrassed that I started to cry. Oh great one more thing they can tease me for. Someone happened to look back and notice (don't remember who) and asked me what's wrong. I can't speak well but I manage to say that I feel like I can't keep up and I'm sorry and I'm trying but I'm tired. One of the teachers or camp counselors says something like "Hey guys *SoftlySpoken* needs some help, lets make sure we all make it to the top together!"
Without making me feel like a charity case, all the kids stopped and let me take point going up the path. I didn't want to slow anyone up so I pushed myself even harder. I heard genuine words of encouragement from the other kids, not sarcasm or scorn.
The view at the top was beautiful, I was so proud of myself that I made it, and grateful to my classmates for their support.
I wish my classmates had been kinder to me and each other in general, especially since that day on the mountain showed me they were capable of it - but in my case it was proved to be the exception not the rule.
Kindness is invaluable and needs to be taught. Lessons about sharing and being nice are taught to the very young, but academics soon seem to push lessons in common decency aside. Can you imagine what school would be like if children where continually taught and encouraged to live and work together in kindness and grace?
What kindness helped you through your
school years? Are their any teachers who would like to share a story that gave them hope for next generation?
Thanks for reading this and thanks in advance for sharing!