Our school year has concluded. My son just completed a successful year of kindergarten and I am so proud of him. He has grown leaps and bounds thanks to a dynamic teacher and an outstanding instructional assistant. He is reading above grade level which is awesome. At the end of the year party, the teacher recognized each student with an award. My son was the next to the last student to be recognized. As I listened to the awards that his classmates received, I began to wonder about what award that he would receive. I thought to myself which award would I love to see him receive and it hit me. While I value academics and will always push him to do his absolute best, it was at this moment that I began to think about the importance of how he treats others. I was hoping that he would receive an award that would recognize his ability to treat others with respect and value. And then it happened - his teacher called him up to receive the "Exceptional Kindness" award. It was an amazing experience for me to watch him walk up to receive his award. I was almost moved to tears as this award reaffirmed something that I had always stressed to my son. The importance of kindness is often overlooked in today's competitive world. This also made me think of a particular impressive activity that one of our 7th grade teachers completed with his students. This teacher, only in his 2nd year of teaching, is an outstanding math teacher. I had the opportunity to know him for many years as his mother is a long time colleague. Watching him grow up and mature into both an outstanding young man and educator has been extraordinary. But one of the most amazing things that I have ever seen him do as an educator did not involve teaching math standards. It actually involved having his students understand the value of kindness and being kind to their fellow classmates. His students created posters to place around school that promoted being kind to others. He also stressed and reinforced the importance of students being kind to each other as a routine action. As a result, he impacted students and through his actions, students started being kinder to each other. His emphasis on treating others with respect began to infect many students in our school. As a result, this young man made a far more positive impact on students that will carry them further in life So just like my son, I am proud of Mr. Tyler Downs for valuing and promoting the importance of kindness among his students. We need more educators like Mr. Downs to stress and promote this quality among their students at times since kindness does matter. Let us never forget the importance of being kind and treating each other with respect and value.
The ideas shared here are my own and do not necessarily represent my employers, associations, or organizations. These thoughts are entirely my own.