Heroic Kindness

The sky was darkening, storm clouds looming, the horizon bleak.  The health of the people was in question, the state of the nation uncertain, my faith in humanity shaken.  Enter the hero.  The hero always arrives in our darkest moments to save us in our time of need. It was not the strength of the hero that won my heart, it was the hero’s kindness.  Kindness, is so often missing in the media, the daily grind, and our distracted world.

The hero made me believe at a time of disbelief. Where there is one, there are many, and I knew that to fight the growing darkness we would need more heroes. That brought me to St. Aloysius School where we are piloting “Heroic,” a PE curriculum working toward developing heroes for humanity.  I believe everyone needs a hero, and everyone has the potential to be a hero for somebody else.  Just take a minute to look back in time; who helped you along the way?  Did you thank them? 

four keys of heroic

There are four keys to being a hero: kindness, strength, commitment and resiliency, but the most important is kindness. Kindness means “I care” and is the only thing that separates the hero from the villain. The villain is also strong, committed and resilient, but just doesn’t care about others or the greater good.

Kindness means “I care”

In order to be kind to others we must first be kind to ourselves. The students learn three ways to care for themselves: getting proper nutrition, sleep and exercise.  Next they learn to be kind to others. 

One of the best ways to show you care about someone is to listen.  We have a growing absence of good listeners in our society. Listening does not mean waiting for your turn to speak, interrupting or being quiet when someone talks. Listening is an art form that involves focus, attention to body language as well as actual language, and asking follow up questions to deepen understanding. When someone truly listens it provides the opportunity for connection.  Connecting is key to building deep and meaningful relationships which are a common theme in resilient people.  We discuss empathy, which means “I feel what you feel.” When we listen and feel for someone else, more becomes available.  It becomes less about me, and more about “we.”

Hero work

We could all benefit from working on our inner hero. Words of encouragement almost always bring joy.  Kindness, it’s contagious. Try giving someone a genuine greeting and smile, which is pretty difficult for even a stranger to ignore.

If you’re up for a challenge and really want to transform your world and that of others, listen.  Try not to judge, simply listen, receive and reflect.  Be aware of your posture and body language which should be receptive and engaged. Put yourself in the shoes of the speaker.  Don’t advise based on what you would do, you are not them! Listen, then ask a question and learn more.  When I say “see the good,” the kids say “be the good! Perhaps if you’re having trouble seeing the good, you need a little more work on being the good.  Slow down, look around, and listen; you might be right next to a hero!