On the last day of school I was walking down the hall towards this year's kindergarten classrooms. It was just after morning recess, and the students in one of the KB classes were sitting on the floor on the six feet apart dots, taking turns using the restroom/washing their hands. I said hello and chatted with the kindergartners as I passed by. One of the kindergartners shared with a serious face, “Mrs. Leifer, I have been spreading kindness.”
I stopped and asked her how. She explained that she had been on the second dot in line right after recess and noticed that one of her classmates who was near the end of the line "really had to go to the bathroom right away.” When she noticed, she traded dots with her friend.
I agreed that her trading dots was a very kind thing to do. It also helped to avoid what might have been a catastrophe. As every kindergartener- and every parent of a kindergartener- knows, it is very important that a kindergartener who really needs to use the restroom right away GETS to use the restroom right away. Helping people in need is a good way to spread kindness. My kindness spreader went on. She told me that trading dots wasn’t the only way that she spread kindness. She listed a number of other kind things she had done at school and at home; including bringing her dad dinner in bed.
I hadn’t heard about bringing someone dinner in bed so I asked for clarification. The kindergartener explained that her family was going to bring her dad breakfast in bed, but by the time they thought about it, they were too late. He was already up and needed to leave. That evening, when her dad got home, he was very tired and went to lie down. This was when they brought him dinner in bed. It sounded great. Dinner in bed might be my new thing. I am going to have to talk to my husband about it.
Later yesterday afternoon, I was downstairs holding the door for students in a second grade class as they came in from recess. The second grade sister of the kindergartener who had told me she was spreading kindness was in line. I stopped her and told her what her sister had said and done. The second grader confirmed that her family was indeed working on sharing kindness with each other and out in the world. She felt good about what they were doing.
Before I talked to the sisters, I had been thinking about what I wanted to say in this week’s Principal’s letter. I wondered how to wrap up this challenging year. After talking to them, I knew. This was a difficult year. Life as we knew it was turned upside down. Some of the things that we had long looked forward to and planned on didn’t happen. Yet, amid all of the different and disappointments, there were moments of goodness and grace.
When you look back, I hope that you will remember that you did hard things and that our community rose. Parents and grandparents calling “I love you” and “have a great day” as children got out of their cars at drop off, the friendly waves and cheerful smiles shared on the way out of the parking lot, sitting next to your child during or just listening in on Zoom classes, the hours teachers spent turning the classrooms and open spaces into welcoming places for children returning to in-person learning, the notes and words of encouragement shared, the smiles behind the masks, the jokes on Zoom, the patience shown at pick up, and the people who volunteered to help with any and all requests for help- kindness was spread in a hundred different ways.
As the kindergartener and I were wrapping up our chat, she told me that she wasn’t finished spreading kindness. She planned on continuing for “at least year or maybe forever.” I told her that spreading kindness forever sounded like a good idea.
I will continue to write Friday letters this summer- maybe not every week- to keep you updated and let you know what we are doing and if anything changes.
Breathe. Pray. Thank you for this year. Thank you for all that you did. Thank you for being a community that rises. Reach out if you need help or can help. Enjoy your summer. Continue to spread kindness.