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A Joyful Path, Year Three – Week 22: Acts Of Kindness — Story: A Letter To Judy, Signed A Friendly Neighbor

For Classroom or Home School

 

 

Week 22: Winter
Lesson 18: Acts of Kindness

I care about others and find ways to be kind.

Getting to the Heart of the Lesson

Kindness is primary to the prophetic and radical practices modeled by Jesus. Over and over in Christian Scripture, Jesus publicly includes social outcasts, and visibly extends kindness to the dejected. Being kind to the ones we know and love comes easily. Practicing kindness when the setting is less familiar, or where there is a perceived line of difference proves more complicated. What “comes up” for you when you are trying to be kind to a person with whom you tend to disagree? What is it like to be kind to a person who has come upon hard times and triggers your feelings of disgust, fear or vulnerability?

In Colossians 3:8-14, we are called to clothe ourselves in New Life, the energy of Christos energy, a Love Supreme. We are each a unique manifestation of Life and Love, and as creations in the great web of Life, part of our reason for existence is to care for other expressions of life in the web. When being kind challenges us, we are invited to remember that each one of us is holy and beloved. We are called to remember the “clothing” God has given us: “compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” Afterall, in the times when we are struggling or feeling alone, don’t we want to be treated kindly?

Teacher Reflection/Activity

Some reading and a 10-20 min exercise (more if you have time and with to take it) so you are able to experience the teachings offered through this lesson.

The importance of this lesson is to explore kindness when it is simple (i.e., “I made my friend a card when she had her tonsils out”), and when it is complicated (i.e., “My younger brother is often loud and embarrasses me when I’m with

my friends, but I find ways to encourage him to find his own way to play nearby.”) This lesson suggests kindness is not a one-time event but rather, an attitude we endeavor to embody all the time. In this way, we act kindly with those we will never see again, as well as with those in our communities and family. As an undergraduate at Harvard, in his work with youth leaders, Dr. Kent Keith wrote, “The Paradoxical Commandments” which were later paraphrased by Mother Theresa and used to inspire much of the work that happens at her center in Calcutta:

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.

Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.

Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.

Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.

Option 1 —Reflect on Dr.Keith’s list and choose one commandment that stands out for you. Is it something you have done well and wish to celebrate? Is it a place where you need support and want to call upon your “divine clothing” (from Colossians 3:12-14)? Journal or pray about this, as you wish.

Option 2 — Give yourself a Quick Win! Where would you like to pour out kindness this week? Flowers for a neighbor? Fresh fruit for your child’s math tutor? Allowing the car in front of you to merge even though you will need to slow down and wait? Leaving a voicemail for your friend who has been blue?

Notice what it feels like to consider these acts of kindness as reciprocal. As you put kindness into the world, how are you aware of the kindness being shown to you?

Read through the lesson before your time with the children. Decide which Activity Exploration will work best for your class (There are usually two options; choose one). Just below the heading, “Children’s Lesson and Story” you will find the preparations checklist for this lesson so you can collect any needed materials or make arrangements to support your selected activity.

Sacred Text Quotes

Hebrew Scriptures. Proverbs 31:26 (NRSV)

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

Christian Scriptures. Colossians 3:12-14 (NRSV)

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord[c] has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Wisdom Quotes

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. ― Dalai Lama XIV

When I was young, I used to admire intelligent people; as I grow older, I admire kind people. ― Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. ― Amelia Earhart

Be sure to click here to download the Teaching Introduction and Instructions.

Review & Commentary