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Strength of the Week – Kindness

As I mentioned in an earlier edition of The Star, kindness can almost be considered to be a sort of vaccine. It seems a strange parallel to make, but evidence would indicate that kindness, as a character strength, has the capacity to prevent ill feeling, injustice and offense, especially when used together with other strengths such as gratitude and hope, just like a vaccine.

Hugh Mackay, author of The Kindness Revolution comments that Kindness is important for the future of our children, for our world and for their capacity to become the learners and leaders they choose to be.

As indicated in our previous weeks dedicated to kindness this year, science evidences that kindness is good for our physical and mental health and is an instrumental building block for healthy relationships and community.

As a Catholic school in the Lasallian tradition, we often reflect on the teachings of St John Baptist de La Salle, who is also the patron saint of teachers. He is credited with establishing a philosophy and practice of teaching which encompasses the whole student, and which teaches the value of love and Kindness. St John Baptist de La Salle was ahead of the game!

In truth, I believe that we are all inherently kind. Sometimes our intentions may get a bit confused, or we may not be at our best, and sometimes it’s also true that we can focus more on what’s wrong, rather than what’s right, so that the kindness in front of us is not the first thing we see.

When I look around me in our community, I feel safe that we can look to the future in the hope of being forces of positive change. Earlier this year our kindness week worked to ‘immunise’ us against more negative behaviours such as bullying and violence. The week focused on stronger awareness and promotion of this strength as Year 7 students took a pledge to counter bullying behaviours with kindness, led by their newly appointed class leaders. Students in Year 8 and 9 played Kindness Bingo, and Year 12 College Leaders and some staff, took a moment to reflect on what inspires them in others in our Kindness Reel. Across the Campus, posters and visual reminders focused on the power of kindness and its contribution as an agent of change in our community and the world. The posters remain in place as a reminder of the value we place on this strength.

Simon Sinek, author and inspirational speaker, talks about the ‘triple benefits’ of kindness. He indicates that acts of kindness bring positive emotions to the giver of the kindness, to the recipient, but also to the onlooker! He encourages us to imagine a world where each of us works towards a focus on kindness and the consequences our actions can bring.

As Christmas approaches and the school year comes to an end, let’s admire the acts of kindness we witness and intentionally scatter that stuff all around us. It costs us nothing and provides great rewards!

One of the fundamental teachings that we know of Jesus is to ‘love one another’- John 13:34. The wisdom of this advice prefaced the science of today by just a few years!

Tonia Carfora, Year 7-9 Wellbeing Initiatives Leader