*I shared these thoughts in my Monthly Newsletter, Middle Eagles Nest, this month.*
Several years ago, I joined the legion of readers who immersed themselves in the life of Auggie Pullman through the incredible R.J. Palacio book, Wonder. If you have not read it, I commend it to you and your family to enjoy both a wonderful story and share incredible lessons of kindness, empathy, and compassion. Schools across the globe have embraced the “Choose Kind” movement to increase these positive character traits in their community. (I won’t give you spoilers because it is a powerful read for all ages.)
Before break, we experienced an uptick in unkind language across our Middle School. Middle School is a time of rapid growth for our children. Their intellectual brains and their bodies grow at a much faster rate than their decision-making and social-emotional brains. This is what frequently leads to missteps in character, including unkind speech. We, as intentional Middle School educators, see these moments as times for growth. We had many conversations between students and teachers about the golden rule in our language and what our core values as a school mean when it comes to the way we treat one another. I had the opportunity to build community with students, stretch our use of language to articulate emotions, and grow inclusive friendships. I’m constantly reminded of why I love being a Middle School Director when I work with students in this situations.
We have a quote of the week in our community and I frequently pull these quotes from the follow-up to Wonder entitled 365 Days of Wonder, which offers daily quotations on kindness and character. Many of our teachers use this book or the parallel iPhone app to explore topics of character with our students. My dear friends use the quotations as catalysts for discussion during family time. As you have conversations with your children in the car or at the dinner table, I highly recommend this strategy for opening discussions of kindness, empathy, respect, compassion, integrity, patience, and beyond.
We know that our school is a community. We work together to help our children fly the nest not only with strong minds but with strong character. We truly love partnering with you as we develop leaders of character in The Montgomery Academy family.