This last week the teachers at Missoula Community School returned to their classrooms. Students don’t officially start until Monday, but these teachers with their big dreams for the year and bigger hearts spent countless hours preparing their classrooms and then spending time with individual students as each child came one by one to see what their classroom looks like and get a feel for the cheerful, dedicated adult that will care for them for months to come.
Now, I know many of you keep up with this blog to see what these cute children with endless supplies of kindness are doing. But today, I am going to tell you my story; a story about a random act of kindness inspired by the Superheroes of Kindess. As the new school year has approached, I have done a lot of reflecting on the effect and role of the Superheroes of Kindness in my life. I am excited to see the school as a whole intentionally continue their pursuit of kindness. Teachers have spoken to me of their visions, parents have asked if their child will be able to still participate or begin to participate, and I watched two children discuss their superpowers with one offering his powers to the other and the other graciously saying no thank you because she has her own. The superheroes of kindness are going to grow, and the city of Missoula is hopefully prepared. But I must admit that the original band of superheroes will always hold a special place in my heart, and will forever be a fine example of the perfect embodiment of the pure hearted. And before the new school year officially begins, I wanted to make sure to pay tribute to these children, these souls that forever have changed how I see the possibilities of the future.
The question became, “How?” I started thinking of missions to be kind to the children, missions to be kind to the teachers who will care for the superheroes, missions to care for the community to whom the superheroes gave their heart. It became too much and I realized my focus this week needed to fall in setting up a classroom environment in which the superhero of kindness vision can grow. As I left school today, Friday, I felt good. There was a part of me, though, that felt I had not honored that group of children right, leaving me to wonder what effect that would have on the up and coming superheroes.
I planned a weekend getaway with my daughter. The goal was to really allow for some intentional, focussed, personal time knowing the changes that the business of the week and the (most likely) unrelenting stress of the upcoming school year will bring since I will re-enter the dual role of teacher and student next week. We arrived at our destination later than I had hoped and my lady was tired from being back in full time care this week. We went to dinner and I had low hopes for the outcome as she was tired and hungry, and I had even lower expectations for the swimming that had to happen even though it was way too late but I had promised.
Then it happened. We were blessed with a very kind waitress. The funny part being I cannot pinpoint what was so unique and special about this dining experience, except that our waitress was just truly kind and friendly. Imagine your waitress approaching you to pour your water and you, stressed, exclaiming, “Sorry, but I have to take this gal to the bathroom,” and bolting out of the booth. That is usually the first ingredient for an experience involving shortness and some unfriendliness. But this fine lady excused us and came right back, smile and all. She wasn’t over the top. She was just herself, a truly kind person. Our dining experience allowed my tired four year old and I to enjoy each other, and still fulfill the promise of a swim today, albeit extremely late. In reality, she was probably just being herself and just doing her job. But my daughter and I were at a turning point and the evening could have gone either way, and she helped. I thought of my heroes, and wanted to let her know her kindness had rippled. So as I signed my bill, I wrote her a note, thanking her for her kindness and making our dining experience so enjoyable. Did she see it? I hope so, but do not know. Do I feel now that I have honored those original superheroes and completed my own act of kindness that may ripple itself in its own true, simple form? Yes.
I’m sure that you will have a wonderful school year. You have such a great spirit.
Sara (Retired K teacher)