I've have tried to share that mantra in our home ever since I read the book Wonder when it was first published. It's quite honestly a good reminder for us all. Choose kind, always. These are important words outside in the real world, but recently more so IN our home. The girls are just about seven years old and they are sisters, so sometimes words or their tone of voice is, well, not-so-kind.
My daughters' school is also encouraging kindness through their Kindness Campaign. They have t-shirts as a visual reminder and assemblies to help reinforce this message of choosing kind. I was pleased to hear that I wasn't the only one trying to spread the word that kindness matters.
A letter was sent home a little over a week ago about "One School, One Book." I was excited to read about this, and it was a book that was tied to their Kindness Campaign! Books + Social/Emotional Learning = A Win-Win! But then I winced (a little) when I found out the book they were reading as one school was Wonder by R.J. Palacio. Questions buzzed through my head: Was this appropriate for my first graders? Would they understand? Would they benefit from reading the book now?
Don't get me wrong. I love Auggie's story. I share it with fifth grade students at my school. But time has passed since I read the book and I just wondered if it was right. However, that really wasn't my decision to make. Then I read these words in the school letter:
"Despite the fact that each student will engage with the story at a different level, all students will be deeply impacted by this novel. The chance to have a common discussion and understanding will unite all of us on our quest to Choose Kind, each and every day."I was encouraged to rethink my initial reactions. The next day I grabbed the book off my bookshelf at school and started to reread it at lunch to remind myself why I fell in love with Auggie's story.
My girls started the book yesterday. They laughed telling me about the 'farting nurse.' They wondered what Auggie looked like. One wrote in her journal a letter to Auggie telling him he would like his new school. Questions and comments and wonders about Auggie, Via, Julian, Jack Will, and Charlotte will be part of our nightly conversations.
I am thankful for the girls' school sharing in the joy of the Kindness Campaign. I am grateful for the "One School, One Book" and the selection of Wonder. I am thankful for the nudge to experience Auggie's story, again, right beside my daughters.
Choosing kind will continue to permeate in our words and actions to others and to each other.