Monday, 28 January 2013

Being Kind To The One's Who Don't Seem To Deserve Our Kindness

There's a reason why there aren't many
pictures of me in our photo album.

    I checked my hair, checked my make-up, checked my outfit ... again, I though I was ready, no wait one more check.  Today we were heading to the school for the Gabriel Lindsay Spirit of Kindness Week kick off.  I was going to be doing a speech in front of the whole school and I wanted to look my best, but more than that I did not want to embarrass Gracie.
    We got to the school and sat down, the whole time I am playing my speech in my head over and over again, wanting it to be empowering, inspirational.  I'm not nervous, surprisingly, I don't really get nervous anymore.  I wait for the principal to call me up to speak.  There is a great overhead featuring information about the award, facts about kindness, I'm still waiting.  A group of grade 8 kids go up and speak to the school about "K-I-N-D-N-E-S-S" and have an acronym for each letter, they then do a little skit about bullying, it's cute, I'm waiting.  The principal tells the school about the school wide challenge.  Each class will work with the grade 8 leadership kids and will come up with a class act of kindness that they will put into place for the remainder of the year, it's nice, I'm still waiting.  The principal dismisses the school, huh.  I guess it's for the best that I had something prepared just in case, but that's o.k.  The first class of grade 4's file out, calm and orderly, I say hello to their teacher (the lovely teacher that Gracie had for grade 4).  The principal comes over to talk to us as the rest of the classes are filing out.  "Do you usually say something at this assembly?" she asks me.  "yes" I admit sheepishly, "but that's alright, no big deal."  "You had something prepared didn't you?" she asks.  I nod, "That's alright, no big deal."  She walks into the center of the gym and whistles to catch everyone's attention. "Students, if I could get your attention, could you all please come back in and sit down, I forgot to let Mrs. Lindsay speak".  Now I'm wondering if my speech is really all that good, all that inspiring.  What if she has made all of the kids come back and I stink?  I mean I've really thought about this, and I think it's pretty good......but.....
    My speech went something like this.....

    "I will try to keep this short, because I know that you are all anxious to get back to your math... (let with groans and laughter).  I have been coming and talking to you for 8 years now, I'm sure that by now you grade 8's know what I'm going to say, but for you grade 4's ...  Gabe was just like you.  He was in grade 4.  He was a nice kid, he wasn't perfect, but he tried to do his best, to do what's right.  Today we've talked about kindness.  Kindness seems like something that is soft for the weak, but sometimes to be kind takes great strength.  Sometimes the people who most need our kindness, are the people that we would least like to extend it to.
    Everyone talks about bullying, and how we need to stop bullying.  No one ever asks why are the bullies, bullies?  Who would choose to go around hurting people both mentally and physically unless they too were hurting?  Sometimes it is the bullies who most need our kindness.  Maybe they come from a home where they don't feel loved, where there is violence, maybe they just don't feel good enough.  So often when we hear about tragedies where someone hurts a lot of people, we hear people describe that person as a loner, or someone who was bullied.  What if someone had shown them kindness when they most needed it, maybe the would not be so much sadness  so much violence.
    When I was a girl, I went to school here and at the other school, that was at least a million years ago.  Back then every face was white, all except for two faces.  Those faces were not white.  Back then people called them that hateful evil word.  It was a brother and sister.  The brother tried so hard to make everyone like him, and they did.  The sister was angry, she wanted to hurt people.  We began kindergarten with her pinching and hurting everyone.  As the years went on she would steal the best treats from peoples lunches.  Sometimes it seemed like maybe she was evil.  When I was in grade 2 I was swinging on the swings, I was up so high, when all of a sudden this girl was in front of me with a big sharp stick.  She drove that sharp stick into my face.  Do you see that scar (I pointed to it. That scar that with age has become bigger again.  With time it slid half way down my cheek).  Now here is the crazy thing, when I was older I actually became friends with that same girl who gave me this scar on my face, that girl who I was sure was evil.  It turns out that she felt so different, that she hurt so much, that she was so angry she had to push it out.  She took her anger out on everyone around her.  As she grew up she learned how to deal with that anger, how being a bully was lonely.
    Do you see what I mean, sometimes the people who seem to be the most undeserving of our kindness are the ones who most need it.  Thank you for being such great listeners."

     O.k. it was probably not as smooth as that.  That is basically what I said.  I really do think that as a society if we want to end bullying, then we need to look at "why" are these kids bullying.  Think about the amount of energy that must take to be a bully.  Think about the injuries they must receive by being a bully.  To me, bullying is really a cry for help (I say this but God help the child who hurts one of my children, thean all bets are off).  For us as a society to end bullying then we have to encourage kindness.  We have to remind children (and adults) that everyone is equal.  We need to do a better job keeping children safe from their own parents.  We need to make every child feel loved, cared for and wanted.

    I came home from that assembly and carefully took off my good clothes.  I put on my "Mom" uniform, you know the yoga pants (even though I don't do yoga) and one of my faded Disney Princess t-shirts.  I started emptying the dishwasher, in other words I carried on with my day.  I had prepared, I had primped, and now it was back to life.


  1. You looked very cute,your outfit was great.Loved what you had to say,but Ithink most of what you say and do is pretty great.Very proud of what you do in Gabe,s name.Mom