Choose KIND: Is it more important to be right, or be KIND?

Posted on February 25, 2016 in Character, Fifth Grade, Fourth Grade, Library.

In our society we’ve decided it’s A-Ok to be positively wicked to one another in the name of politics. Christians fight with fellow believers or (worse) with those who look to us to point to Jesus. We belittle and mock and snarl at one another through a screen. Then we go to church on Sundays and sing about Jesus’ love.

It’s appalling.

And, sadly, our kids reflect this desire—our innate, constant, basic desire to be RIGHT. I have it, for sure. I’m right. You’re wrong. Let me prove to you with insults and wit just how wrong you are. Have you ever been swayed by an argument that includes personal attacks? Ever? And, yet, we all use this tactic over and over. I’ve heard students fight over how to properly pronounce Star Wars character names.  I’m willing to fight over health care or immigration or taxes but not think twice about the kind of day a person is having or whether he or she knows Jesus.

Well, last fall I read a book that convicted me of this constant desire to be RIGHT. The book is called “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio. The author encountered a very different-looking little girl outside an ice cream shop and instead of treating that girl and her mother as she would other people; she grabbed her kids and ran away. She ran away from what she didn’t understand. The child’s physical appearance was so startling to the author, she couldn’t handle it and she fled. While she left the situation, the situation did not leave her and her memory of that moment outside the ice cream parlor prompted her to write “Wonder.”

Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

Wonder by R.J Palacio – You Can’t Blend In If You Were Born to Stand Out

The story follows a little boy who has a couple chromosomes out of place and the result is a lifetime of surgeries, near death ailments and the looks of “a monster.” He attends school for the first time as a 5th grader. The story is told mostly through his eyes though others jump in once in a while for a different perspective.

One of his teachers shares this precept, “when given the choice between being right or being kind, choose KIND.”

These words stuck with me in a powerful way though ultimately they are only a small part of the book’s message.

I’m reading this special book with our 4th and 5th graders right now. We’re discussing hard topics like friendship, prejudice, fear, birth defects, death and betrayal. It’s not always pretty. We disagree from time to time but books, really good books, do that to people. They make us think and feel as we haven’t before. They make us contemplate our actions and check ourselves:

“Is it more important to be RIGHT or does this situation call for being KIND?”

When we’re done reading it, you’re welcome to borrow BCA’s copy. Or take yourself to the public library and grab one. Our nation seems so divided, so busy being RIGHT but perhaps we can all learn from a children’s book about the importance of being KIND. Imagine the difference that would make!

Pledge to Choose Kind

Pledge to Choose Kind-ness instead of Right-ness

– Lisa Wellman, Librarian

One Comment on “Choose KIND: Is it more important to be right, or be KIND?”

  1. Paige Green February 26th, 2016 8:15 pm

    Lisa,
    Very well said…too bad the political players haven’t read or don’t abide by those precepts. Scott and I were just talking and commenting that sometimes it is even possible to be right AND kind.
    The best of both worlds!

Leave a Reply