Each year I choose a word to focus on and this year my word is kindness.
Side-note: Last year my word was surrender because I knew it would help me give up control-freak issues. After covid unexpectedly came along surrender might have subconsciously been anyone’s word. Spritually-speaking I had the opportunity to grow and it ended up being a valuable lesson to live by. I learned to surrender in many ways throughout 2020 and had sort of this give-it-to-God mindset to go along with my word of surrender.
Ok so back to this year, it’s been really cool to see how often I’ve physically seen the word ‘kindness‘ in my presence.
I sub at quite a few different schools and in a majority of the classrooms and hallways I’ve been met by my word. There are posters, paintings, and phrases of encouragement containing the word kindness, all serving as personal reminders to me.
Outside one of the school’s windows that faces the playground is painted ‘choose kindness’ and another one that reads ‘kindness matters’.
It’s interesting to me because those words have probably been plastered all over the schools for years but until kindness became my word (this year) I think it went unnoticed on my radar, so to be aware and take notice has been refreshing.
Kindness isn’t something I want to take for granted. When I see that word I don’t want it to be just a simple reminder of my 2021 word of the year rather I want it to speak deep into my being. I want it woven into my heart and felt within my thoughts and actions. I want it to push me to literally show kindness and recognize it when I see others living it out.
With it being March already I have a few months practice into my word.
Recently I was at the dentist with my oldest daughter who had a tiny cavity filled (her first and hopefully only one ever).
Something I really respected was that the hygienist laid her hand on top of Paige’s hands to comfort her as the dentist used the needle to numb her mouth; it may sound silly but that act of kindness just stuck out so much to me! It was noticeably-caring and that type of thing goes far in this wild world we live in.
From that experience I realized how important it is for me to not only be practicing and showing kindness myself but also to see it in others.
When the dentist reached out to us the next day to check on Paige (yes she does that because she’s amazing) you can bet I made mention of the hygienist’s act of kindness.
Another example of kindness came in the form of a compliment this past week…
I was teaching an elementary p.e. class when a little blonde haired boy complained of his knee hurting. I told him to have a seat against the wall for a bit and see if that might help.
Meanwhile as a crazy loud game of tunnel tag continued that little guy with the hurt knee had apparently traded phys-ed for art class. After a few minutes of resting he excitedly tapped me on the arm and pulled from his pocket the tiniest little notepad and pen and flipped through the busy pages until he came to the one he’d just completed. Amongst doodles it read ‘you are a really kind p.e. teacher.’
It was super sweet and heart-warming.
When I chose the word kindness for 2021 I didn’t know it was going to impact my life in such ordinary ways but that’s exactly what I would’ve hoped for.
In the 3rd through 5th grade Sunday school class I teach at church the curriculum we use has a focus word each month. February’s word happened to be kindness, the description they gave was this:
In our little class we’ve talked about being kinder than you have to be, being kind to those who are different than we are, and being kind to others because God is kind to us. I also told them to be sure and notice how much that word is displayed in their schools!
On the flip side my own kiddos are very aware that ‘kindness’ is my 2021 word so when they catch my irritation in something they quickly remind me to “remember your word mom….” The accountability in that makes such a difference!
Kindness encourages me in a huge way. It’s selfless. It’s a choice. And it truly does matter.
Do you choose a word for the year? If so what is your word and have you seen positive results from it?
If you have a story of recent kindness I’d love to hear about it in the comments.