On Tuesday night, I read Adam Grant’s and Allison Sweet Grant’s article, “Stop Trying to Raise Successful Kids and Start Raising Kind Ones.” According to the authors, more than 90% of parents surveyed said that a top priority of parenting is to raise caring children. However, according to the children who were surveyed, they believed that their parents valued achievement more. In order to remedy this disconnect even in their own family, the Grants decided to give “kindness” the attention it deserved. They started small by changing the questions they asked at the dinner table. Instead of asking about assignments, grades earned, games won, they started asking their children if they helped anyone that day. After a while the “I forgot” responses changed to more thoughtful answers. Their children began to actively look for opportunities to help others. Furthermore, the authors shared not only their own experiences with helping others but also made a point to include moments when they had failed. Telling children about how you regret not standing up for someone who was being teased, or recalling a time when you quit a team and left teammates in the lurch may prompt your children to think more carefully about their responsibilities to others. Kindness doesn’t require sacrificing achievement or vice versa. They can and should co-exist harmoniously. We encourage our children to try to do their best, and that means trying to do their best academically, socially, and morally.
Earlier that same night, I saw a great example of how you, parents, are teaching your children to be their best! I watched the joy and camaraderie as the Parent Association, the fourth-grade students, and their parents led us as we packaged care kits for the homeless. I saw how these acts of generosity and kindness promoted learning about the tragedy and challenges of homelessness and brought the community together to be creative and productive. I am grateful for the St. John Community.
Daily, I thank God for the many blessings in my life, including the children whose greetings and smiles brighten every day. I received a special treat this week when the third graders sent me letters expressing their opinions on how we could improve St. John! One student told me that he had a difficult time with this assignment as he loved the school the way it is! These opinion letters were well-written and among the requests were: more free dress days, later start time, more dessert, escalators, pets, roller skating, field trips to California, and very thoughtful opinions on why we should get rid of plastic water bottles and do more to care for the environment!
By the time you read this, we will have celebrated Grandparents’ and Friends’ Day! The students love to entertain their guests. I am thankful to the music teachers, Mrs. Tsagalakis and Miss Jones, for their leadership and direction and to Jonna Skokan and Julie Lee and their team of volunteers who made the event so special.
I am grateful to the faculty and staff for their dedication and commitment to each and every child here at St. John. I love visiting the classrooms. I see the joy when the teachers recount stories of success and ‘aha’ moments in their classrooms. I listen to them as they strategize how to help all students achieve. I feel kindness radiating across our campus.
No NewsViews next week so I will wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving holiday. Our student Thanksgiving Mass is on Monday, November 25, at 9:00am in the church. Join us. Dress uniform day for the students.