I found this some time ago when I was scrolling through Pinterest.
I never understood why people were mean to me (not all of them obviously, but I’m talking about the ones that did make their contribution to my misery). I used to be very mean myself and I mistreated others. I do think it was a response to all that happened to me. ‘Why would I be nice and stay positive if all I am getting in return is disrespect?’ I thought. However now I see it differently. I started looking at things from my OWN perspective - I was mean because I needed help and kindness. However, every single time someone was kind to me I felt like they weren’t really nice.. if you know what I mean. It was just a pretentious way of showing that they pitted me.
I am a teacher and I teach kids aged 12 and above. There is one student in my class that last year made me question all my teaching techniques and life in general. He would enter the class late, chew gum, throw his backpack in front of me and then not care whether I was there or not. He was an extremely difficult case. Or so I thought. I tried on him everything the teaching books advised me to do - activate him/try to calm him down/entertain him/show him that I didn’t care. But I did care and I wanted to find out the answer to him being rude and mean to everyone around. In addition, he is a great learner. He learns fast and has a remarkable memory. So I started sowing little seeds of kindness in him. I would always tell him how much I appreciated even the smallest positive things he did during my class (sometimes I really had to think hard to find these things, but you gotta do what you gotta do). Slowly but surely what I praised became the norm and he started finding new ways to impress me with. He started saying 'hello’ when he was entering the class. Not just to me, to everyone in the school. To his classmates. He wanted to help them. Help me. He knew he belonged and that without him the class wouldn’t be the same. I tried my best to make sure he knew that. The school year ended and we went our separate ways. I didn’t think he would come back to my class or that I would have a chance to teach him again. I won’t lie. The whole process of 'throwing kindness’ at someone who was not eager to receive it was emotionally draining for me. And I felt like I failed.
Here comes September and he’s back. He’s not only back but he’s happy. He goes “I didn’t do much this summer and my parents didn’t really care if I did. I’m so excited to be back and I couldn’t wait to see you and my friends.” And then my year-long attempts at showing him that I cared finally paid off. Happy he left the school, greeting everyone on his way. As of now, he’s one of my top students and I know he will exceed everyone’s expectations this year. I can’t wait to see what happens with him.
Be kind, encourage others, and CARE 🌸