Wednesday, August 28, 2013


I spent six hours at my daughter's middle school today for a "Kindness Retreat".  Yes, six hours of teaching sixth graders the value of kindness. In fact, there was an awesome nonprofit organization that led the entire day's activities. It's called Youth Frontiers and they have 50 employees traveling the country doing these programs.The concept is to teach kids to be "everyday heroes" by being kind to each other. I realize that there is more and more talk of extreme bullying in schools these days. However, it struck me as interesting that we are relying on a six-hour retreat in our schools to teach our kids to be "kind".  It made me think, what values are we teaching them at home? 

We then had an orientation at church for my daughter's confirmation class and the pastor talked about how kids used to learn their spirituality at home until the 1900's when organized religion began teaching Sunday school. Parents started dropping off their kids and relying on the church to teach them what they needed to know. Again, I thought what values are we teaching them at home?

While entering the school pick up lane and everyone "jockying" for a spot in line, I reflected on the kindness retreat. I thought to myself that there needs to be a "Kindness Retreat for Adults"!! No joke! Get in your car and drive a few miles and you'll encounter people in a hurry, texting while they're driving, cussing at people driving too slow, and rolling their eyes at the clerk in the checkout lane at Target! Generally speaking, people are functioning in a hurried, self-centered, highly-frustrated, negative manner.

Now, I'm not generalizing "everyone" as being negative. But really, don't you find that it's refreshing when a stranger in line at Starbucks smiles at you and genuinely asks you about your day, or opens a door for you, or picks up your keys for you when you drop them, or pays you a compliment? These are the very things that were being taught to sixth graders at the 6-hour retreat!

I realized that I re-learned a few basic principles today along with the sixth graders. Talking behind people's backs, gossiping, name-calling, negative attitudes, dis-respect, selfishness, among other not-so-nice behaviors are hurtful to others.  Kindness...a basic topic of which all of us could use a good refresher from time to time!
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. ~Ephesians 4:32

Love and Prayers,

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