At the beginning of this school year I was in the cafeteria before school when I saw a little kindergarten boy sitting by himself, crying. I went over and asked him what was wrong, and he told me between sobs that he missed his big sister. So together we went and found his sister with the fourth graders in the auditorium. He got to give her one more hug before the bell rang to start the school day.
6 or 7 months have passed, but every time I see this child he says, “Thank you for taking me to my sister!” In between I forget all about it, then each time he thanks me out of the blue it reminds me what happened and how much those five minutes meant to him.
This morning I saw the same child and he thanked me again. Just a half hour later I was reading an article about work being done in Watauga County to build more compassionate school cultures with the goal of helping kids deal with trauma. The article cited a Harvard study which found that one of the most important factors in offsetting trauma and building resilience in children is a positive relationship with a consistent, caring adult.
The purpose of this post is not to brag but to point out that often we don’t realize how impactful our small acts of kindness might be on others. Awareness of that impact can help us be more intentional about building the compassionate cultures that we need in our schools.