In my daughter’s class, they apparently had an assignment this week where they drew a classmate’s name out of a hat and then had to write something nice about them. A perfectly fine exercise, in my opinion – looking not only for the good in others, but the deeper good that goes beyond them being “nice” as an adherent to social convention is a good trait to cultivate.
All of the notes were written on pieces of paper shaped like Christmas lights and hung up around the room, to show how each kid “lights up” the classroom. Awww.
But then as a nice bonus, each kid got to take home not the thing they wrote, but the thing written about them. Which means I got to have a little glimpse of how my daughter is viewed in the eyes of others.
Here is what a classmate wrote about my Beansprout:
“[Beansprout] lights up our classroom by helping when someone is hurt. You are the first one to notice and help them.”
I am so, so proud of her. She’s so amazing. This isn’t isolated – at a recent birthday party at a skating rink, my daughter (a decently accomplished skater) went considerably slower than her abilities allowed in order to stay holding hands with a younger classmate who was less steady on her feet. When a bully at the beginning of the school year picked on a young kindergartner in her presence, she immediately leaped into the fray and frightened the (older and larger!) bully off and then unilaterally declared the picked-on kid as “her friend,” despite having never met him before.
She is more marvelous than I could ever have hoped. She’s a protector. I’ve always tried to be that way; I think she’s done a better job of it in seven years than I’ve done in five times that amount. I think it’s more likely that she gets it from her grandfather than from me, but wherever she gets it from, I’m so thankful for it.
Please, please, be kind. Our world is wondrous and magical and exciting and interesting, but it is also a big, wild place where it’s easy to get lost for a while. It’s easy to be alone. And those few small gestures of kindness when someone is hurt can change their life. Be kind as if you are the last person on Earth who will be. Be the first to help, because you never know if you’re someone’s last chance.