A couple of years ago my colleague and friend Beverly Kay shared this with a group of teachers online. It is such a thought provoking message that it should be shared on our kindness blog:
"Recently I had a short stint in hospital. It always blows me away how people can dedicate their lives to helping people like me reach their full health potential. In fact a fair whack of cash, and precious hours of doctors, nurses, and a raft of other medical personal, has been dedicated to ensuring I get to leave hospital fit and healthy to live the life I want to live. Thats very humbling.
So first and foremost I want to thank those who have so kindly cared for me.
The health system has many similar characteristics to the education system. It if full of people there to help people. Helping people reach their full potential. To ensure this is done as efficiently, effectively and as successfully as possible - there are systems, procedures, policies in place for the smooth running of a hospital.
And there-in lies the rub.
As part of my recovery process I was encouraged to walk around and around the ward many times a day. Similar to many ECEs and Schools, the ward displayed its philosophy of care on the walls. Alongside this was a list of roles that medical team on that ward saw as important parts of their job. There was also what appeared to be a list of reminders about how these roles should be carried out. There was an anagram - I think it was PEEK - and it started with Pop-In “Have you popped in to see your patient and asked them how they are doing.”
I had many nurses “Pop-In” and ask “How are you doing today Beverly?” - which was nice. I could see they were fulfilling their ‘role’ and some connection was made. And then there were other nurses. They breezed in with wonderful smiles on their faces, chatted about the photos of my family I had on the wall, drew my attention to the sun shining through the window, and paused at my bedside with the look that said “I’m here for you”. And I knew that these nurses cared.
They truly cared. The doctors and nurses who walked into my room with a genuine smile, looked me in the eye, greeted me and introduced themselves; who shared with me the reason for their visit, commented on my photos, shared a laugh, listened to my stories; who had kindness in their eyes - they were there because they truly wanted to help me and cared.
People approaching us with kindness makes a huge difference to how we feel about ourselves, how we feel about them, how we feel about the next few moments of time.
Kindness and truly caring matter. They matter in health. They matter everywhere.
It might pay to consider our own situation - is Kindness something written or described on the wall as part of our role or philosophy, or is it something that lives within us and manifests itself through every interaction we have with children and families?
Wendy Lee lives and breathes kindness, so I am confident to quote her on this subject because it is not just words - there is a huge amount of thoughtfulness and caring behind these words. “For me kindness is really at the heart of all we do. ‘Kindness is at the heart of the matter’. Manaakitanga is an important value for all of us (respecting others – their differences, showing hospitality, kindness, friendship, nurturing and care for everyone). Piero Ferrucci argues that it is this trait that will not only lead to our own individual happiness and the happiness of those around us, but has the potential to strengthen powerfully the relationships that surround us.
I thought I'd add John Sweeny's Ted talk to this. His website states "Unless you're too busy breathing, you're never too busy to be kind."
What does kindness feel like in you?"