K is for Kindness

| February 6, 2014

“It’s so easy to laugh / it’s so easy to hate / it takes strength to be gentle and kind / it’s so easy to laugh it’s so easy to hate / it takes guts to be gentle and kind,” lines from The Smiths’s “I Know It’s Over,” on the acclaimed album The Queen is Dead, resonate with me as an educator and, more broadly, as a human endeavoring to embody more empathy as I mature, for this ability transcends every facet of life—and is constituent to ubiquitously fostering positivity. Having “strength…[and] guts to be gentle and kind” suggests that vulnerability presents itself in intimate encounters, where they be with students, family members, lovers, strangers, or friends. This vulnerability, which we may reveal to whatever degree during these encounters, or transactions, evinces the receptiveness we ourselves embody. Or do not. The extent to which we embody receptivity determines the kinds of transactions—and the kindness therein—that we have with others. These transactions affect the individual inasmuch as they affect us.