As we approach the 100th day of school, as well as Valentine’s Day, I’ve been thinking about the concept of kindness. We all know the term, of course, and it’s official definition is “behavior marked by acts of generosity, consideration, or concern for others.” It is one of the distinguishing characteristics of Lynchburg generally and the James River Day School community in particular. Kindness is the underlying theme in our six pillars of character: trustworthiness, caring, fairness, responsibility, respect, and citizenship. Sadly, it is a quality that has gone missing in much of society in recent years, which makes it even more important that we teach and model kindness each day in school. A teacher is remembered for what he or she talks about the most and models in class. And, a school is known for the same thing. Being good and showing kindness to one another is important to us, so we take the time to emphasize it.
To further support and encourage kindness among our students, Mrs. Freeman, our school counselor, has been facilitating fun and collaborative “kindness lessons” that culminate in student-generated classroom goals for kindness. In middle school, a Kindness Challenge will be held as a fun way to promote kind and thoughtful behavior.
The ultimate example of kindness in action occurred yesterday when the middle school unexpectedly needed to dismiss early. The school, out of concern for others, performed an act of kindness by removing the children from a potential health risk. Each faculty member understood the dismissal was the responsible action to ensure their own and the students’ wellbeing. The teachers conveyed this to your children with patience and respect for their reactions. The students followed that example and showed kindness by helping each other with packing and making sure they each had what they needed for the extended time out of the building. Many, while disappointed to be switching to distance learning, focused their concern--not on their own inconvenience--but rather on the health and wellness of their teachers and classmates. It is never enjoyable to have to dismiss early, yet it was quite gratifying to see all of those involved become members of a collective act of kindness.
To you, our parents, it is also your kindness--consideration and concern for others--that has brought us this far in the school year without a major interruption in teaching and learning. Your sacrifices, to keep your own families safe and healthy and so our school community faces less risk, have made all the difference to your children and all their classmates. I thank you for your kindness.