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  • Welcome to Collège Champittet

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“If you have the choice between being right and being kind, choose being kind” (Dr. Wayne W. Dyer)

  • being right and being kind

Every once in a while, there is a book that stands out, that makes you feel better or makes you think deeper. It is a kind of book you cannot stop thinking about. One of those books is the children’s book Wonder, written by R.J. Palacio. Different quotes are worth mentioning but one of them is more powerful than others: “If you have the choice between being right and being kind, choose being kind”, a quote taken from American philosopher, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer.

 

This quote made me think about the impact of kindness on other people’s lives. A person can change somebody’s day by showing them a little act of kindness – to smile at someone who is in a bad mood can change their whole day! Both the “giver” and the “receiver” can then feel something special: the one who “gives” kindness, experiences a moment of pride and self-worth, while the other person can feel less lonely, there is somebody who cares about them, they belong somewhere. Scientist Jamil Zaki in his blog Scientificamerican believes that: “witnessing kindness inspires kindness, causing it to spread like a virus.” According to his study, when people see other people acting in a kind way, they will reproduce an act of kindness themselves. Following this study, just by being kind, we could spread good deeds around the whole community, the whole city, the whole canton, the whole country...and eventually the whole world. It seems like it is really easy and doable. Unfortunately, it is not as easy as it sounds. Jamil Zaki’s theory explains: “The battle between dark and light conformity likely depends on which cultural norms people witness most often. Someone who is surrounded by grandstanding and antagonism will tend towards hostile and exclusionary attitudes herself.” In a nutshell, it is the famous ‘what goes around, comes around’…

 

Being a teacher is a great opportunity to spread kindness to our students. Being a kind teacher has a huge impact on teacher-student relationships and on the emotional development of the students. However, this may raise an important question: should teachers postpone deadlines of students’ assignments? Should they excuse cheating during tests? Should they close their eyes when they see students using their earphones, phones and other electronical devices while it is prohibited by the school rules? Would that be considered as acts of kindness? I believe all teachers should clearly fix limits and ask students to respect them. Kindness can be shown in many other ways - listening to students, showing respect, positive attitude, smiling, being helpful…

 

As stated in another quote from Wonder: “The best way to measure how much you’ve grown isn’t by inches or the number of laps you cannot run around the track, or even your grade point average – though those things are important, to be sure. It’s what you’ve done with your time, how you’ve chosen to spend your days, and whom you’ve touched this year.” Inspiring a student so that they realise the real values in life is a great achievement, but inspire a student by showing them that they can spread kindness to other people, is even better.

I would like to believe that in schools, we show our students how to be kind because being kind is so much better than being right…

 

Dana Bauer

English Teacher at Collège Champittet