Cool to be Kind – An article by Hilary Phillips

Apr 22

The following article was published in the Sherborne Times, April 2024.

COOL TO BE KIND by Hilary Phillips

We are very pleased at Hanford this month. We have won an award! But more of that later.

Spring is in the air and certainly we hope it will be bringing kinder weather.  We had a discussion in morning chapel at the beginning of March about the wind which, at the time, was making itself known with gusto.  The girls talked about how the wind can cause all sorts of problems, blowing off roof tiles, uprooting trees and spreading rubbish to name but a few. They also came up with several ways in which the wind has a positive effect. How would seeds disperse, they asked, if not for the wind? They talked about energy from the wind, and this led to them doing some useful research. Of course, it being Hanford, the girls also talked about how riding up a hill then cantering over the top, allows the wind to blow right through you, leaving you exhilarated, breathless, laughing. It’s a personal spring clean!

Spring cleaning is a marvellous thing. Getting rid of clutter is so satisfying and the pleasure from clear surfaces is deep. However, if you are anything like me, it doesn’t take long for them to clutter up again.  Back to that morning chapel discussion and I asked the girls what they could fill themselves up with once the wind had cleared out any internal clutter. They came to an agreement that filling themselves up with kindness would be a great plan.  This was music to my ears as, like all schools, we want everyone to be kind to each other, to show compassion.   Confucius said that being kind to others makes us wise, and we could do with a bit more wisdom in the world, couldn’t we? Kindness also makes us strong and resolute too. Kindness isn’t the same as niceness. It’s actively seeking to do the right thing.

As adults, we all know and hopefully have experienced how random acts of kindness really can make a difference to someone’s day.    It really is cool to be kind.  However it’s easy to forget to be kind when you are worrying over something, and our kindness muscle can very easily get out of shape or atrophy from lack of use.  It’s important, therefore, to exercise that muscle and try to be a little kinder than necessary.

Can you teach kindness?   There was a fad a few years ago of schools teaching ‘happiness’ which I felt was rather missing the point.  Surely creating an environment where happiness can blossom is more effective.

Please click here to read the full article which is on pages 42 – 43.


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