Dear Alexander families,
Last year, one of our middle school students created a poster that hung on a wall in our MS/HS. The poster simply read: In a world where you can be anything, be kind. The impulse toward kindness is a theme throughout the District this year. In fact, our MS/HS has adopted the theme of that poster as the building theme for this year.
It’s one thing to talk about kindness but what does it mean to be kind? Being kind means understanding that every person gets out of bed in the morning to do the best they can. Being kind means offering a smile or a kind word. Being kind means bringing positive energy to conversations and interactions. Being kind means asking yourself at the end of the day if you lightened the load for someone else or if you positively contributed to a friendship, a team, a family, or a community. Being kind is simple yet kindness is an attribute with which we all sometimes struggle. What would happen, however, if we all made a collective commitment to kindness?
Stephen Covey, the author of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, encourages us to assume positive intent and to operate out of our circle of influence rather than our circle of concern. What Covey means is that we should live in a way that assumes that everyone is doing their best and that the intention behind every action and every word comes from a positive and constructive place. Working out of our circle of influence means to spend our energy on the things we can control or influence rather than dwelling on those things over which we have no control or influence. When we operate from our circle of influence rather than spending lots of time in our circle of concern, we bring positive, proactive, constructive energy to any situation.
Alexander is a remarkable community with outstanding schools, caring families, exceptional students, and fabulous faculty, staff, administrators, and Board members. Do we have some areas that need extra attention or areas in which we need to continue to grow? Absolutely we do. Encouraging kindness does not turn a blind eye to those things that need to improve but encouraging kindness ensures that we count our collective blessings and consider how we can engage in the work of improving what needs to improve from a proactive, collaborative, constructive, and positive place.
Please join me and the rest of the Alexander school community in practicing kindness throughout this year and every school year to follow.