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Three Things I am Remembering {on my 41st Birthday}

There is one important time. That time is now. There is a most important person. That individual is the one you are with. There is a most important thing. That is to do good for the one who is standing by your side. – paraphrased from the writing of Leo Tolstoy

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I am forty with one extra year this very day. WOW. Contrary to what I would like to say (that I am twenty-nine and holding AGAIN), I am not. I was asked the other day, “How old are you Mrs. Gard?” I put it back on my student. “How old do you think I am?” I was told that I might be thirty. (Just found out this evening that another little guy thought I was turning twenty today- who wouldn’t love teaching kindergarten, I ask you??)  I owe these two little darlings a little extra recess.

Although in theory, I would take those numbers again (just because), in retrospect I remember twenty and thirty. And I don’t think I would ever truly go back. Not because it was horrible or bad or worse than forty-one. But because it would take from me the joy of living in the present here and now. There is one important time. That time is now. To trade our today for yesterday or to cash in this day so as to have tomorrow, robs from us the joy of experiencing the moments we’ve been given today.

Where it is at…is right now.

This is the most important moment for all of us today. Right now. What will we choose? Where will we go? Who will we influence? What lives will we touch? How will we show kindness? In what ways will we show love?

Act. Accordingly.Now.

Act with justice, kindness and love. For this is the time. You have no guarantees about five minutes from now. No guarantees about your next breath. All you have is this. This moment, right now.

I was in class earlier today, and I asked the students what was the one thing they thought was the most important quality in a person that no one should overlook. The answer I got was this: “Someone who doesn’t cut you up into little pieces.”

Yes, this is all important. But what I was fishing for this time was actually something a little tamer. I was attempting to elicit from them something about caring compassion. My hope was to express to the children the important role of kindness.

Today during quiet time, I was getting students settled in for some down time, and a few of the little boys came to me with a sparkle in their eye wanting some paper. They fussed about how I wasn’t allowed to see what they were working on, but I listened to the conversations from afar. They worked quite diligently at their project and helped each other out in finding the words they needed to say. What they were making were beautiful birthday cards for me. I have to say that these little cards are among the most meaningful writing samples I will collect from my students this year because they came from a caring heart of love. The letters were initiated because of kindness.

There is a most important thing. That is to do good for the one who is standing by your side. If we can teach children to do good for the ones who are standing by their side, they will take this experience and translate it into real world practice.

If we are kind inside our classrooms, then we will be kind on the playground. If we are kind on the playground, we will be kind on the bus. If we can be kind on the bus, we will be kind in our homes. If we can practice kindness inside our homes, then we can be kind anywhere. That is the power of kindness.

Today. This is your moment. Love the ones you are with and do good to the ones who are standing by your side. And you will never wish for any other moment than the one you are living right now. Because the moment you are living will be the one you have been waiting for your whole life long.

Don’t waste a precious second.

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