The Kindness Challenge Week 3–Radiating Kindness

a warm smile1

It’s week 3 of the kindness challenge.  This week’s challenge was to radiate kindness.  Although I often do it anyhow, I made a special point this week of smiling at people when I walked down the street.  I spent an hour or so walking around downtown last week–I was trying to find my car, which had been towed.  Did you know that Wacker Drive has a north, south, east and west? Anyhow, as I tried to find my car, which was not in a lot but on a strip of pavement, I saw a lot of people.  I especially saw a lot of homeless people.  I made a point of looking them in the eye, if they were willing, and saying a friendly hello.  (It also was a good distraction from being upset about my car.  I swear there was no no parking notice when I parked–the whole block was filled with cars when I arrived).

I read an article this week in Renewal, which is the journal of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America.  The title is, “A Question of Character: Resume skills or eulogy virtues” by David Sloan.   Apparently David Brooks wrote an article about this in the New York times last year.  I would say that kindness is one of those eulogy virtues, for sure.  In the article, David S talks about how education used to address character and now American education is starting to return to that.  He talks about education in ancient Greece, where they valued “arete,”  which is “inadequately rendered as “the paramount virtue–divinely imbued, all around excellence.”  He also writes about Parzival who makes many mistakes and wanders and fights for years before he can return again to where his journey (more or less) began, the Grail castle where he can ask that healing question that makes him the king of the grail, “What ails thee?”

These qualities, including kindness can take a long time and a lot of work, or at least consciousness, to develop.  But they are well worth it.  Resume skills are, of course, important.  But these “eulogy virtues” are, too.

It makes me think of the Yiddish word, “mensch,” which means a person of integrity and honor.  A true human being.

Rudolf Steiner said:

Children who live in an atmosphere of love and warmth, and who have around them truly good examples to imitate, are living in their proper element.
—Rudolf Steiner, The Education of the Child

This is so true and truly important.  Especially for the children.  But all living things thrive in an atmosphere of love and warmth.  AKA kindness, although it has many other names as well.

So I thank all of you for stopping by.

And thanks to Niki for this lovely challenge.

Warmth and love until we meet again.

I am a writer, handworker, artist and teacher (a WHAT!), and a mom of two beautiful daughters who are amazingly 17 and 21. I am working on getting my first book, a fantasy novel for young people, published and am busy spinning on my new spinning wheel. I have been a Waldorf early childhood teacher for 10 years now, and before that, I was a lawyer. Teaching is much more fun.

4 thoughts on “The Kindness Challenge Week 3–Radiating Kindness

  1. That’s an interesting thing to consider, where kindness should be taught at. One would be quick to assume at home but we all come from different backgrounds. If we go back to the thought of it taking a village to raise a child, it’s really up to society as a whole to focus on the values that are important and contribute to us being better people. I really enjoyed your post, sorry your car got towed, that’s no fun! I’m glad that you chose to exercise kindness even though it would have been easier to give into the situation. Wishing you lots of kindness this week!

  2. Thanks Niki, I’m sure that home is the best place to learn kindness, but school, too and all of us. If we’re lucky, we have a village. And thanks for they sympathy–definitely a drag. I was glad to have a reason to remind myself to be kind during those stressful couple hours while I was searching for my car.

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