This morning we celebrated our annual Kindness Day. Over the past two weeks, the children have created necklaces for someone else in their grade level, not knowing who was making a necklace for them. I remember these times of random partner selection as a kid myself. I remember how badly I wanted for my partner to be my best friend, and how I would wish and pray that it wasn’t that kid who sat behind me and wiped his boogers on the back of my chair.
I was not as kind then as the kids of SWS are today. As they came into the studio last week, I whispered their secret partner into their ears. One by one, as they walked past and we shared a sweet, whispering moment together, I was amazed. No matter who the secret partner was, each name was met with equanimity and kindness.
I like to think that this is because they have all been there– they have seen Kindness Day year after year, and know that every child wants to feel liked by their partner, that “ughs” and “yucks” are simply not tolerated in our community, that offering love to someone who might be the hardest to love feels good. These are some guesses; I’m curious to ask them about this next week.
To make their necklaces, the children needed to think about their partner. First graders made necklaces based the colors they know their partner likes. In 2nd through 5th grade, we talked about the symbolic meaning of colors, and how they could send “friendly wishes” to their partner by choosing colors that communicate something to their partner that might help them or make their life more beautiful.
Then this morning, we all gathered together as a whole school, singing and walking under the arch the teachers made. I loved watching the contrast of our 4th and 5th graders, who knew what to expect, who looked forward to walking through the arch for what may be their last time, and our three year olds, not sure what the singing and smiling was about.
Kindness takes practice. While we celebrate kindness throughout the year, I am so glad that we learn in a school where we set aside time to practice giving and receiving, creating with another’s interests in mind, and do it year after year. I am excited to live in the world these kids will create.