It is simple to say, “Be kind.” It takes more work to apply it. It takes even more work to synthesize it (Right, CRE Learning Community Colleague Sherry? I’m bringing in my Bloom’s here.). One way I think about crafting my skill of kindness is to think of myself, thanks to Carol McCloud’s work and my first grader, as either a bucket filler or a bucket dipper. A bucket filler is a person who practices kindness by proverbially filling people’s emotional buckets. The best way to fill a bucket is by being kind. Listen. Give a compliment. Show gratitude. Of course, the yang to this cheery yin is the gloomy bucket dipper. A bucket dipper is someone who empties other people’s buckets by saying or doing cruel things.
A moment of authentic kindness functions as a salve to soothe emotional shards of absolute grief, frustration, sadness, desolation. Despite this, research shows that our brains pack boxes of negative memories and associations, because of their impact, for safe-keeping more frequently than those that are positive. I believe that seconds of genuine kindness can reverberate, sink in, sponge through the bones eventually attaching themselves to our long term memory, and begin to overlap or push over and supersede the negative.
At the end of the day, we are in the work of helping people and doing what is best for students. When you have the choice to fill or dip, I hope you decide to fill and pass it on.