Every Day Should Be Unity Day
Today's lesson: put nice stuff out there.
Today is Unity Day at Dothan Brook School in Hartford, partly an annual nod to National Bullying Prevention Month, but also a celebration of their year-round focus on teaching kids to treat each other with respect, integrity, and kindness. Their approach is especially meaningful to me now, as I balk in horror at a presidential race that lacks all of those qualities.
My kids are in good hands at DBS, and here's how I know. The other night, we sat reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" series. I'm a die-hard fan, both of the author herself and the books. I appreciate that my daughters are also fans, because otherwise they'd have to move out.
There’s a scene in one of the later books where Laura gets in trouble at school, blames the teacher for treating her unfairly, and then realizes she brought the trouble on herself by spreading gossip. She feels bad. Her Pa gently seals the lesson by saying, “Remember, Laura. A dog that can fetch a bone, will carry a bone.”
"Whatever that means,” I mumbled, as I read that line out loud. Which is exactly what I've said every time I've read this book, without even trying to figure it out.
“I know exactly what it means,” my daughter said.
She sat up straight, completely confident in whatever she was about to say. “It means whenever you put something out there, someone can pick it up and take it to other people. So, you should think about whether you're putting out nice stuff, or not-nice stuff."
Of course you know that, I thought. Because you are a thoughtful, empathetic child, and I am a jerk adult.
“Where did you learn that?!” I sputtered. “We talk about that kind of stuff all the time at school with the anti-bullying thing," she said. She meant this attention to social-emotional skills that DBS has built into their curriculum.
Be someone who "puts nice stuff out there." Or if it's not nice, at least think about the ramifications before you speak or act. It's the simplest of concepts, and yet we wise adults make it endlessly complicated.
I'm taking a lesson from the elementary school set today. Because "the anti-bullying thing" is clearly shaping my kids into better humans than I am, which is really all I wanted for them in the first place.
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