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Oops, I Was Too Kind

I teach high school and have a lot of students whom I look after. As it happens, some kids don’t fit the college-prep modality. Some are smart. Some are brilliant. But not all of them are academic scholars.

One of my favorite kids (we’ll call him “Al”) just wasn’t built for high school.

I’m sure he’ll do fine in life, but high school’s not for him. He was a scrapper with a “fight the system” attitude.

The teaching staff and I coerced Al to take the SAT.(Because that’s what we do.) We got him a fee waiver, because we would like to see him to go to college. I helped Al register for the test, because he missed the registration dates. I assisted him with filling out all the forms.

The Monday after the SAT, I saw Al in the school hallway and said, “Hey Al, how’d the SAT go?”

He said, “Oh, you heard, did you?”

Not quite sure what he was referring to, I joked, “You slept through the test? No big deal.”

“Yeah, I did. And you’re the only one who hasn’t yelled at me about it,” he replied.


My question to him had been in jest. I was kidding. I had no idea he’d actually slept through the SAT. But wow, what an accidental kindness – to find out that I was the only adult who hadn’t yelled at him for it.

Al never wanted to take the SAT in the first place. And that’s fine.

But it really dawned on me – what if I were the kind of person who didn’t make sarcastic remarks to let people know I disapproved of what they said, did, or didn’t do?

What if I were that “one” person who was actually kind?

That’s a goal of mine, to be a kind person.

I challenge you to set the same goal for yourself. What would happen if you could be the kindest person anyone had ever met? Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Wouldn’t that be great if people said about you, “He/she is the kindest person I know.”

That would be an incredible goal for all of us.

This week’s spiritual-religious advice: Be kind to others, even when they screw up big-time.
Rabbi Brian
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