Summertime usually means fewer routines, later nights and sleeping in. Vacations, time with family and keeping bored children busy are all part of summer. However, there are signs everywhere that show us school is just around the corner. It is evident by store ads and school supplies spilling out into aisles of local stores. With the school year beginning soon, it’s time to start thinking about school-year routines. But school is about a lot more than just routines and school supplies. It’s about relationships, social skills, respect, helping each other, friendships, learning, kindness and the list goes on.
One of my favorite quotes says, “In a world where you can be anything … be kind.” It seems kindness is missing from many avenues in our daily lives — how we treat each other, how we react to circumstances shared on social media, how we handle road rage. Kindness is often all it takes to diffuse a situation.
But who teaches kindness? I think the answer to that question lies with anyone who is reading this article. It’s all of us. The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University has said the single most common factor for successful children is at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive parent, caregiver or other adult. You may be that one committed relationship for a young person.
I recently read an article about Bryan Skavnak, who is a golf professional, coach, and teacher in Minnesota. He tells his students to be kind, use their manners, have fun, and do the right thing. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? In a letter he wrote to his students, he encourages them to “Be the nice kid.”
He goes on to say, lots of things happen at school, some you will like and some you won’t. But through everything that happens, be the nice kid. When someone doesn’t have friends, go talk with them. If someone drops their books, go help pick them up. If your teacher asks a question, answer it. When your friends are doing something wrong, walk away. Be the nice kid.
In my favorite part of his letter, he tells his students that it’s easy to go along with the crowd and make fun of those who seem a little different. Guess what? Everyone is different. Everyone has their thing. Some are smarter than you, some have cooler clothes than you, some are better at sports than you. It doesn’t matter; you have your thing too. Be the one who can get along, who is generous, happy for other people, who does the right thing. The one who tries his best. Be the nice kid.
Coach Skavnak also offers advice about being successful in the classroom. If you have homework, do it. If you have a test, study for it. If you have a project, finish it. When your parents ask you to do something, listen to them. They aren’t here to guide you in the wrong direction. They support you and love you. Just like you treat your classmates at school; be nice to your parents. Have fun at school, do what you’re supposed to do and be the nice kid.
Sounds like we could all learn a lot from Coach Skavnak.
Christy Strickland is the county Extension director with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center. She can be reached at 910-671-3276, or at [email protected]