If we all try hard enough, we can think back of the elementary and middle school days where teachers would stress day in and day out to “choose kind.” Always. We read books about what “filling a bucket” meant and were given “gotchas” (at Cherokee at least) when we were caught doing something nice and kind for one another. At Deer Path Middle School, teachers continued to influence us and read the book Wonder in 5th/6th grade to make sure we understood the challenges other people were facing, especially the impact that negativity and positivity had on not only ourselves but others around us.
I found myself recently talking to some friends and the topic of kindness kept recurring. We talked about our other friends and how lucky we are to have them and how they make a difference in our lives. We also talked about how we all need to move on from the ‘saltiness’ and ‘drama’ within our friend groups. While I was pretty shocked to hear my friends say these profound statements, we continued on getting deeper and deeper into the topic.
This continued and we discussed the students who don’t necessarily have a firm place to sit during lunch and the people who just don’t eat lunch at all. It got very serious very quickly. One friend of mine commented that “we all need to stop being so mean, move on, go sit with the kid who is alone or even just waiting for their friends.” I wondered for a long time if this was a social norm only in the Lake Forest area, North Shore, nationwide, or globally? Or is this a characteristic that is in our blood? Do we not sit with someone who is not in our “group” because it’s weird, we’ll get judged, or we are the ones who are afraid and not confident to step out of our bubble? No matter what, we should still try to be as kind as possible throughout our lives even if it isn’t being a topic of discussion every day during school.
This week, I went to the Girls’ Sectional Semifinal basketball game on Tuesday to support our school. When I got to the door to pay, the ladies at the table asked if the name written on a piece of paper was my name. There it said “Catherine Greub.” Shocked and confused why women who work the IHSA ticket table (in Libertyville, our rivals, may I mention) know my name, they proceeded to tell me my ticket was already paid for by a previous spectator of the game. I walked in the game with a huge smile on my face and at the same time received a text. My friend, who attends Libertyville, texted me “Welcome to the game; it’s on!” still keeping the rival spirit, but purchasing my ticket for me to honor random acts of kindness week (Feb 17-23)! It was the little notion of kindness that totally changed my viewpoint of the day!
Once Lake Forest won the game, I called her to brag about our big win, but also to thank her. She shared the kind actions she has participated in during the week and being head of “Kindness Club” at Libertyville High School. Passing out lollipops to students at lunch, wearing yellow this week to brighten someone’s day, and smiling and saying ‘hey’ to whomever you can during passing periods were just a few ways to show kindness. I was inclined to try to be more kind not only this week, but also to make a change in my life.
Overall, this is just a little reminder to choose kind and make an impact in someone’s life even if it is something small that you don’t believe even matters. It will come back to you infinitely!