Lesson in kindness in JFK Lower Campus


In my nearly 40 years of teaching, I have gone to great lengths to prepare lessons, as most teachers do. From time to time, the students turn the tables.

Last week I witnessed something in my fifth-grade classroom that involved several of my students that deeply touched me, when our school held a food drive for Thanksgiving.

The children were to be rewarded, they would be entitled to a “dress-down” day, if they participated by bringing in a non-perishable food item by the deadline, Friday, Nov. 17.

Our school, John F. Kennedy Lower Campus, is a socially and an economically diverse group, almost a microcosm of America today. One major difference — there is no great divide.

On the deadline date, a student came to school without her food item.

Upon realizing the unfortunate situation, two other students, who’d already brought in their donations, empathetically suggested that a third boy share an item from a bag of canned goods in his hand with the girl.

They also suggested they share another item on behalf of an absent child, who also had not brought in anything.

Without any intervention on my part, instantly and through an act of kindness, anxiety was relieved and all the children were included.

Imagine if Congress and the American people could view our problems as simply as these students. They noticed someone in need and by their actions showed they were thankful and able to give.

I’m thankful and blessed that I was not absent, and that I was able to witness that loving lesson that day.