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#MakeKindnessTheNorm

Yesterday was ‘Random Acts of Kindness Day’. Here at Exeter Cathedral School, we were encouraged to consider what being kind meant to us and to each other.

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation says that “acts of kindness can include just about anything” and that “no gesture is too small”. The Foundation seeks to emphasise the importance of doing good in the world. Established in 1995 in the US it has grown to become a non-profit organisation working with schools and businesses pledging to either a day, or a week, dedicated to being kind.

Here at Exeter Cathedral School, we go further than committing to just one day, it is an intrinsic part of what we do every day. The endorsing and upholding of core values; the modelling and promoting of the right habits; and the acquiring and practicing of key skills: this is at the heart of our curriculum (both hidden and explicit), our interactions, our decision-making and our expectations. Being kind is one of our Pre-Prep Golden Rules and Prep School Habits. We want to encourage positive choices, to inspire and empower the Exeter Cathedral School Community to act with kindness and generosity.

What does it mean to be kind? The dictionary defines kindness as the quality or state of being kind, treating people with generosity, consideration and respect. Kindness is a choice, we choose to be kind instead of the alternatives – which may at times be easier, such as apathy or anger.

Kindness crosses cultures, faiths, languages – it is a common quality, understood by us all as humankind. People might forget what you said or did but rarely how you made them feel.

I remember a friend asking me at the very start of a new relationship, if he was kind? At the time I was surprised that was what she was most interested in – not what he looked like, where he worked, what he did in his spare time, but how he made me feel? Kindness, she said, was the most important quality – luckily for me, I could answer yes and I’m very lucky that he continues to be kind 17 years later!

I believe that kindness is the most powerful, least costly and most underrated gift. It is a gift that everyone can afford to give and that we are all grateful to receive. It is a quiet gift, there is no expectation for reciprocation, it is given freely from one person to another because they want to offer it and not because they want or need that person to do something for them. As Rabbi Harold Kushner is quoted: “Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are”.

A quick internet search for kindness will provide hundreds of quotes from various sources including one of my go-to texts: Winnie the Pooh. I agree wholeheartedly with Eeyore when he says that “a little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference”.

For me, kindness is the little things that can make a big difference: the flowers that arrived just to raise a smile at an otherwise difficult time; the gift for no specific reason other than having my initials on; or the coffee that appears on my desk at the end of a busy week! I am very grateful for the kindness that has been shown towards me and hope that I can also spread some joy by making kindness the norm every day.

 

Miss Katharine Pearce

PA to the Headmaster

Communications & Admissions Manager

18 March 2022
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