The Green Umbrella of Kindness
I am so excited to announce a new aspect of an inspiring and important initiative. As many of you know, as a school district, we have had a commitment to the social-emotional wellness of our community for several years. This year, however, we are delving into the topic more deeply throughout the school year.
During our traditional welcome-back ceremony, Convocation 2019, we reflected on the previous school year highlighted by certain messages from Mr. Rogers. One quote in particular resonated with my staff: “There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. And the third way is to be kind.” Convocation was the kick-off, followed by the first day of school where our entire staff wore Green Glasses (thank you, Eanes Education Foundation for donating the glasses for all staff).
Kindness for some comes naturally. Others wish kindness was more prevalent in our modern times. I agree with those thoughts, but I would stress something much more important. The ability to show and practice kindness is just one element of certain skills leading to the development of resiliency. Resiliency is defined as the ability to recover quickly from difficulties. Disappointments and failures will happen in life, and our ability to respond in a healthy way and to pivot when necessary can be critical.
Resiliency is a “superpower” proven to have many benefits. Are you aware research shows children who are more resilient will do better academically and will be less likely to engage in risky behavior? And for adults in their 70s, 80s and 90s, resiliency is a predictor of mortality. So, if there was a trait that gives a child a better chance of academic success and the likelihood of better relationships throughout his or her life, be less likely to engage in risky behavior and LIVE longer, wouldn’t we all want our children to develop resiliency? If you would like to know more about the research in this domain, I would highly recommend an OnBeing Podcast, in which host Krista Tippett interviews Dr. Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist based at the University of Wisconsin, on the topic of Love and Learning.
The question is, how do we develop resiliency in our children or in ourselves? In the course of this school year, you will receive six messages from me as a part of a Kindness Series. These messages, along with six “Green Glasses Days” will emphasize a certain trait or skill to help develop a person’s resiliency.
Under a Green Umbrella of Kindness, we will explore six topics: Focused Attention, Gratitude, Empathy, Inclusivity, Respectful Communication and Reflection. Kindness is the thread connecting all of these attributes. By focusing on the development of these six characteristics, we can build resiliency within our children. We can give them the gift of a true “superpower” with benefits to last a lifetime. Now it is time to build resilience among our community by learning more about the research and ways in which we can develop the six traits to nurture resiliency. We will share research, what we are doing in our schools and what parents can do at home to enhance, support, reinforce and partner in this mutual objective.
At Convocation, I had the opportunity to remind our staff of the wisdom of Mr. Rogers, and I introduced some of the concepts in this communication. I shared the stage with Erik Qualman – an author, international speaker and Eanes ISD parent, who donated his services to speak to our staff. In addition, to commemorate Westlake High School’s 50th anniversary, we incorporated archival video of WHS legendary counselor, Ms. Toody Byrd, underscored with a performance from members of our WHS choir. Grab some popcorn and soda, sit back and enjoy the following video; it will help reinforce our message of Kindness, which we hope will grow a resilient root in our community’s culture.
Thank you for all of your support in making Eanes ISD a Kind environment.