On Kindness At The Core

 When I was a kid, New York was the place you lived to meet different people. It was the place where on one single corner you could hear the tales of someone who just arrived to the United States from across the world and left it all behind, so that they could work and send money back to their family and pursue some of their own dreams that were impossible back home. And within minutes, on that same corner, hear rattily stories of jukeboxes, the 80s, and how boys dressed once upon a time in Kangol hats and tweed pants, and who exactly lived in the third floor railroad 10 years ago. Everyone in New York has a story shared in almost the same corner, with their own unique characters. It is the beauty and the history of New York. And to be honest, it is why I choose to raise my children here over and over again, in the place where I was born. This is why I’m honored to have partnered with Monster High in their initiative to spread kindness with their kind monsters, who often slightly mimic some of the many New York characters I’ve grown to know.

From Chinatown to Bedford Stuyvesant, up through Harlem, there is no shortage of different worlds for my children to experience. And while New York will always be that place that pushes my children to open their eyes wide in love, it is also up to my husband and I to teach our children kindness. It is not something they simply pick up; it is something we show in our own actions, in little and large acts. It is saying “please” and “thank you” and being respectful to everyone we cross.

I often watch in amazement at the grace River has shown as her world has tripled, possibly, quadrupled in size with her entry in kindergarten. As an involved parent, I also watch her teacher in amazement. I am in awe that, at the core, her teaching is in kindness and acceptance for what each child may bring, whether it be physically, mentally, or characteristically. And as I watch River play with her Monster High dolls, all varying in stories and different characteristics, I think of the same message: you be you.

To get more of an idea on kindness in the school, I asked my friend Phenia, a 4th grade math and science teacher, here in the city. Here’s what she had to say on the subject:

“The rule is simple: everyone must be kind and respectful to one another. We are currently having a kind challenge at my school. Each classroom has a poster board outside of their classroom and the teachers are to write the kind acts they have seen from scholars in the school.

For teachers, it’s most important for us to be kind and patient solely for our scholars to feel comfortable being vulnerable. Within the demographic of scholars with whom I work, they are used to people being mean to them and dealing with the constant feeling of being defeated. As an educator, I feel obligated to be kind to my scholars so they know they can come to me about anything and everything. From math and science problems to them needing sneakers because their parents can’t afford a new pair. Kindness needs to be at the core.” 

As we celebrate kindness and kind monsters everywhere with Monster High, I want to hear more about how you teach your children kindness everyday. Are they the little or big acts?

River has started imagining a joy bucket over her head, which gets filled every time she does something kind for someone or if someone does something kind for her. I took something away while watching River play with her dolls: she pointed out their physical characteristics, but it wasn’t something that defined the dolls. She played, making things along the way, being kind along the way.

(This post is in partnership with Monster High. Thank you Phenia for your words on kindness. Photography by Julia Elizabeth)

0 thoughts on “On Kindness At The Core

  • Reply Anonymous October 31, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    As a mom, I totally relate to your mission on teaching our children to be kind at their core. I find it's important to make it a part of my daily discussions with my sons, especially because kindness sadly is often that is labeled as something that's not masculine by society and others, although they may mean well, pass on that messaging to him. Thank you for sharing additional tools to use to keep teaching and spreading kindness, compassion, and empathy with my boys.

  • Reply LaTonya Yvette November 1, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    Thank you for leaving this beautiful comment. I feel the same, especially now with Oak. We always teach our girls to be kind and respectful etc etc but I think it's even more important to instill this in our boys. I think we are raising a beautiful generation, who will be some really gentle souls who are able to give and receive. Xo

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