These are the words I said to my daughter on her first day of Kindergarten as she ran off to her new school. She was so excited to be a big girl and to embrace all the new things she will learn this year. There will be so many new lessons to learn like math, reading, writing, computers, etc. I know all this will come with time. But the biggest thing I want her to always remember is to be kind. You can’t turn on the news these days, or go on social media without seeing images or news stories filled with hate. There is racism, violence, bigotry, and anger everywhere you turn. I know it can get overwhelming for us as parents, and sometimes I pick my brain trying to figure out how to approach these issues with my daughters. I tried to think of something simple that they can always remember when they go out in this world without mommy and daddy’s protection. What can they do to make a difference, no matter how small? Be Kind.
Be kind to everyone you meet. It does not matter the color of their skin, where they came from, who they love, what clothes they are wearing…get to know them. Introduce yourself and make a new friend. When you see someone sitting alone in the school cafeteria eating lunch, walk over and say hi, they might appreciate you company. Don’t worry about the “cool table”, if they are not willing to accept everyone into it then those are not the friends you want to keep. If you see someone on the school bus sitting alone, ask them about their day! I am sure you will find a lot in common. If it was you sitting alone, you would appreciate the company.
To your current friends, be kind to them. School will introduce you to new people, some nice and some that are not so nice. Stick together with your friends, the ones that bring out the best in you. Don’t let anyone else bring you or your friends down and stick up for one another. Compliment each other’s strengths, let them know how smart they are or how funny they can be. It is not about how you look baby girl, but how you carry yourself and treat others that counts. Always lift each other up and appreciate all the good things that make you like your friends. Always find the good in people, we need more of that in this crazy world. I promise that you will learn so much from others that are different than you.
Also, be a leader! Don’t be afraid to set the tone for how everyone should be treated. Be that kind person that you would hope someone is to you. Show love, respect, and acceptance everywhere you go. And if the “cool” kids don’t think that is okay… Tough! They might also need kindness in their lives. You are here to make a difference, not follow the masses.
Mommy and daddy love you so much, and will work hard every day to instill these values in you. And when you fall short, we will be here to remind you.
All in all baby girl, go have fun and be kind! It is that simple. The world is yours, go get it!