This and That

Great Kindness Challenge 2017!

First off, we had a terrific Great Kindness Challenge the week of May 1. It was fun for all of us to spend a few days celebrating and putting the spotlight on kindness. Students started the week signing a Kindness Pledge banner that was later hung in the lobby. We had members of the Gilman community from other divisions greet the children each morning and read inspirational quotes throughout the day. Here are just a few:

  • “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” (Desmond Tutu)
  • “Nothing can make our life, or the lives of other people, more beautiful than perpetual kindness.” (Leo Tolstoy)
  • “When words are both true and kind they can change our world.” (Buddha)

One of the most successful activities this year was the Kind-it Wall where students and faculty could write compliments and kind notes on sticky-notes and attach to the Kind-it Wall. It filled up quickly with so many positive thoughts! Parents hosted a Kindness Station on Wednesday morning where students could do kindness-related crafts and activities. Based on the Kindness checklists turned in, our students committed more than 3,000 acts of kindness! We’re looking forward to next year’s Great Kindness Challenge in February!

13 Reasons Why

On a more serious note, while this controversial Netflix series is not geared towards or appropriate for elementary school age children, if they have older siblings you may be hearing about this show about a high school student who commits suicide. I thought it could be helpful for you to see what was included in the Upper School newsletter:

The on-line streaming company, Netflix, recently launched a series titled 13 Reasons Why which is an adaptation of Jay Asher’s young adult novel with the same name. The 13-hour series navigates the aftermath of a high school student’s suicide as well as topics such as teenage depression, relationships, social media, bullying, sexuality, and sexual assault.  The program is rated MA for mature audiences and is not recommended for vulnerable or younger teens. There are several graphic scenes throughout the series and we would therefore recommend that teens who watch the program do so with the guidance and support of a parent or guardian. If you know that your son has watched the series, we recommend that you have a conversation with him to see how he processed it and if he has any questions. Below are some resources we hope will help. If you or your son have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact our school counselor, John Mojzisek (jmojzisek@gilman.edu), who is working on some in-school discussions as well.

https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources/school-safety-and-crisis/preventing-youth-suicide/preventing-youth-suicide-tips-for-parents-and-educators

https://fitzbetweentheshelves.com/2017/04/25/family-connection-resources-for-talking-to-your-child-about-13-reasons-why/

https://www.save.org/blog/tips-watching-new-netflix-series-13-reasons/ .  

Of course, I am available if you have any questions about this.

Take a Moment

Lastly, this is a fun but stressful time of the school year. If you or your child feels overwhelmed, you may want to try some mindful meditation. Throughout the year I’ve been working with most homerooms on different ways to practice mindfulness. You might ask your son what mindfulness is and how can you practice it. (Hopefully he’ll tell you mindfulness is about focusing on the here and now, and we’ve practiced it listening to a bell, focusing on our breath, and focusing on our surroundings, among other things.) In any case, enjoy the ramp up to the end of the school year and start of summer!