A Culture of Kindness
Mr Geoff Lancaster | Principal | Grammar News | 7th August 2020
During the first week of term I spoke to the St Luke’s Community about five key areas of culture that I believe will help our School to continue to thrive into the future. These are: Excellence, Collaboration, Kindness, Curiosity and Courage.
A Culture of Kindness
Proverbs 16:24 tells us that “Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” The image of honey is a good one - thick and rich, full of substance. It also takes work to produce honey. On the Australian Honey Bee website I discovered that “It takes 300 bees about three weeks to gather 450g of honey.”
Kindness takes work too. We can’t assume that just because we want our students (and staff) to be considered kind, that it will just happen. We need to model this and explicitly teach our students how to be kind. That is actually a big part of the intention behind LEARNING@STLUKE'S - to explicitly teach character traits that will help our young people to flourish and stand out from the crowd.
Schools are sometimes harsh places, as students may not fully think through their words and actions and as a result, hurt other people. Kindness is one area where St Luke’s already shines, but we can always do better. We want to continue to nurture a culture among the students where each person can be themselves. In fact, we need our students to understand that different personalities enrich all of our lives.
During enrolment interviews I always ask students why they would like to come to the School, and then I ask “how will St Luke’s be a better School because you are here?” My favourite answer from a potential student is, “I am kind to other people”. Kindness is so much more powerful than niceness. Being nice sounds a bit hit and miss - “sometimes they are nice to me but sometimes they aren't”. Kindness takes thought and deliberate action.
A culture of kindness starts with staff and parents. We need to model kindness in words and actions to our students. This may be by helping students to understand social justice issues or different cultures and perspectives. It may be by assuming the best of others even when we feel wronged. It may be by getting alongside a student and showing them that you see them and care for them. Or it may just be by being thoughtful about the language and tone of voice we use when we speak with students, even those not doing the right thing.
I believe that being regarded as kind is something to aspire to and it is a fundamental aspect of character education for our students at St Luke’s.