It’s November. I’ve watched my 3rd graders not always show the best manners. For instance, they think something and immediately it comes out of their mouth. This doesn’t always work well when they share a room with 22 other impulsive mouths. “One voice at a time,” I’ll remind.
Lately, I was seeing more teasing. They would say, “We were just kidding.” They would say, “We like being silly.” I instead was seeing it as not being kind. I decided to “kill them with kindness” last week. I read an old favorite – Miss Rumphius, a new favorite, Each Kindness and then one shared by a parent, One. Then taking an idea from another blogger, There’s a Book for That by Carrie Gelson, I had the class add a tally next to their favorite.
Each day ended with a read aloud. Then we discussed how the characters acted. I kept asking about kindness. I find 8 year olds fascinating. They are on the verge of being able to see another’s perspective. Yet, they mostly see their actions as just playing. One comment was, “It’s OK to be mean once.”
As Thanksgiving approaches, I am thankful I have the opportunity to help a classroom of friends learn about being kind. I hope they remember Maya in Each Kindness and how they should not waste an opportunity to greet a new friend, no matter how different. And remember how our actions towards others ripples out and we can never get it back. I hope they remember how One stood up to Red to help Blue in One. They too, can be the voice that helps everyone feel counted. I hope they remember Miss Rumphius and work to make the world a more beautiful place.
I hope the message of these three books sticks a bit with my friends. Because, in my opinion, the world needs the next generation to be more kind.
Happy Thanksgiving. I especially am thankful I have Tuesdays to SLICE among this very kind writing community. Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.