With everything that had been going on in our society recently I have been really thinking about what I can do to try to help. The conclusion that I came to, with the help of a lot of article reading, was that I need to not only be kind but also teach kindness. In my classroom we have talked a significant amount about being a community and supporting each other. We talk about how, when you hurt someone, you can’t just say “sorry” and expect it to be fixed; you have to actually find a way to fix it.
Here is an example:
Two children are kicking a ball back and forth to each other outside at recess. Child A accidentally kicks the ball too hard and hits the other child in the head. Child B, who is obviously hurt, starts to cry. Child A goes over to Child B and asks “are you all right? I didn’t mean to kick the ball that hard.”
“No I am not ok; you hurt my head.”
“Oh no, what can I do to make you feel better?”
By simply teaching my students to ask one another what needs to be done to make the situation better we are setting them up to not only solve their own problem but also mend the bond of friendship that has been broken.
So many times children are expected to say “I’m sorry” and move on. But if you smashed my Lego tower saying “sorry” is not going to fix my tower that I worked so hard to build. Now my tower is ruined and even though you said “sorry” (this magical cure-all), I am still pretty mad about it. However, if you took the time to help me re-build my tower and talk to me about why you knocked it down in the first place, I am much more willing to forgive you and move on in our friendship.
In my opinion, teaching our children how to be kind to one another and fix the problems they are having in a productive manner sets them up to succeed. We are teaching them that even if they do the wrong thing and hurt another person’s feelings, we can work together to solve the problem and strengthen the friendship that was damaged.