Wednesday, March 1, 2023

This Lent Consider These Two Words: Be Kind

School begins at 9:00 a.m. Yes, 9:00 a.m. It's amazing. It's beautiful. It's so humane...and as a result, we are human. The bell chimes and one of the deans gets on the P.A and says "Good Morning." Teachers and students stop and stand. Those in the hallways pause and listen up. We begin our day with prayer. A student leader will give context for the prayer—Lent, Black History Month, Social Justice Summit Week—and then offer our communal prayer. It concludes with the words "Saint Ignatius, pray for us." I don't know how your day starts, but this isn't a bad way to begin.

Good, bad or otherwise, announcements about the schedule, observations the deans have made about student behavior, reminders about dress code and call downs follow prayer. Nine out of ten times, this messaging concludes with the reminder for SI students to "be kind to one another." I fear these words fall on deaf ears. I wonder if students are tempted to roll their eyes. I often wonder, Do they even hear that reminder? Fortunately, I have found one way they won't.
In this two minute video Father Jim Martin, offers an invitation for us to do something this Lent. While many people give up sweets or social media, Martin—a Jesuit priest—suggests that we do something during this holy season. His recommendation? Two words: Be Kind. 

I appreciate his message because it is both practical and specific. Any one of us could employ at least one if not all three ways we can "be kind." His examples prevent those words "be kind to one another" from ringing hollow. These suggestions can serve as a test run for practicing kindness this Lent. 

I asked my students, What are other ways to be kind / show kindness? Come up with three more. This was not hard.

In my newsletter, Sports & Spirituality Synopsis, I urged coaches to consider talking to their athletes about kindness. 
Do not be afraid to talk to your athletes about Lent. It is a spiritual season characterized by practices of personal discipline, self sacrifice and mindfulness—precisely what we ask of one another all season long. 

While many are familiar with “giving something up” for Lent, Father Jim Martin, SJ has invited us to consider do something positive: be kind. While his message may not be revolutionary, it is very practical. He gives three ways to practice kindness. 

If you have a weekly update that you send to athletes and their families, include this video and this prayer. Ask your team and yourself, Which of the three tips resonate with you?
Teams and teammates can be cut throat and overly competitive. I have had to work through back-biting, bitterness, resentment and jealousy. These personal problems can manifest and fester unless we treat them with kindness, respect and compassion. Reminding your team to "be kind" is a message everyone benefits from hearing.
Those two words: "be kind" are so simple and so important. Kindness makes the world a better place. Kindness is care—cariรฑo—and warmth. It asks us to think of others, lend a helping hand and extend hospitality and welcome. One of my favorite bumper stickers reads "Mean people suck." Students are always confused when I admit this. "I like it because it's true. It's a good reminder. The world is hard enough...we don't need mean people." 

1 comment:

  1. Amen ๐Ÿ™ Amen ๐Ÿ™ Amen ๐Ÿ™