—-Frank A. Clark
I have a positive story today, rather than the depressing news that has been filling our various forms of media. One of the many horrible aspects of our political arena and the coronavirus is our feeling of helplessness. What can we do after all, to make a difference? Well there is always voting...for the love of our country PLEASE VOTE...and we can stock up on hand sanitizers, but in the end we can’t do much.
There is a bigger problem than those two things though, and we can make a difference there. Our society has become so self involved, that being nice seems to be too much trouble. Offering your seat to an elderly person, holding the door for someone with a hand filled with packages, just offering a smile to a stranger seems to be as antiquated as a rotary phone. We need to teach our future generations that kindness is a necessary component to a life well spent.
I always believed that my job as a teacher didn’t end with gerunds and adjectives. Yes, my students needed to learn how to construct sentences and read the classics, but they also needed to learn how to appreciate nature and the people they encountered daily. They needed to learn the joy of giving. Several times a year my students brought in towels/blankets and class would take place on the grass around our campus. What better way to study Thoreau and Emerson than surrounded by the nature that they loved.
Then there was the year that my final exam for my speech class required no studying at all. Instead the students were told to perform a random act of kindness for a friend, relative or stranger during the weeks preceding exam day. They then presented speeches describing what they did, the reaction of the recipient of this act and how it made them feel while they performed this act. The results were astounding. They each put their heart into the assignment and made me proud.
I recalled this today,when I read about a school in Ireland that did a similar thing. They had no formal homework for the month of December. Instead they were asked to carry out acts of kindness and record these acts in a journal of sorts to be signed by their parents. They were given general suggestions but were on their own when spreading sunshine through their neighborhoods. These children were being schooled on the true meaning of the holiday spirit. Families got involved, and the project was a major success.
No matter how old we might be, it is always the perfect time to show kindness. Sometimes a phone call to a lonely relative means more than any material gift you might send. How about spending an entire “family day” untethered to your electronics. Leave the phones at home and go on a picnic with your kids, parents or friends. Take your elderly relative out for the day. Shovel snow for your housebound neighbor. Lead by example. Make the world a kinder place.
Well, speaking of kinder, I am being kind to myself next week. My birthday is coming up soon, and my son, Michael, is coming in on Monday to spend the week with me. I intend to take full advantage of some “me” time, so I will not clean, work or write all week. I will spend quality mother/son time, eat great food and read a lot, but it will all be on my own time. I will be back to reality in two weeks. See you then.
As for this week’s book, I read A Reasonable Doubt by Phillip Margolin. It is a really captivating book, as most of his books are, and I highly recommend it as your March read.
As always a complete review of this book follows my blog,