'When we create a social curriculum that teaches kindness, compassion, love and empathy, there is no room for hate'.
No-one can question her credentials . . .
Indeed, if there's anyone on Earth more qualified than Kaitlin Roig to talk about such things as kindness and compassion, and the need to make our planet a more loving and connected place, we'd sure like to meet them.
You might not be able to place Kaitlin but her tale is known to us all. You see, Kaitlin is a First Grade teacher. Her school is called Sandy Hook Elementary . . .
Kaitlin is the teacher who, when the shooting started on December 14, led 15 terrified six and seven year olds into a bathroom closet, closed the door, turned out the light and held them as close as she could.
"I told them 'I need you to know that I love you all very much and that it's going to be Ok'," she recalled afterwards. "I thought that we were all going to die. I thought it was going to be the last thing that they'd ever hear."
Kaitlin and her class, huddled in the dark in the bathroom, survived a massacre that claimed 26 friends and colleagues. The experience marks them all, but a teacher determined to set an example has a lesson for us all. It is this . . .
That looking out for others is something that should concern us all. That it's better to give than to receive. That qualities such as empathy, kindness, love and compassion must have more prominence in our lives. That hate cannot be allowed to fester.
Here at OM®, where such things have long shaped our outlook and inspired our efforts, news has reached us in recent days that, determined to make a difference, Kaitlin has launched a non-profit organization that, she hopes, can start sowing the seeds for a brighter, more-connected future. It's called Classes4Classes.
Rather than us explaining a program that we're delighted to support it's our hope that you'll check out Classes4Classes for yourself. What we'd like to do is concentrate on Kaitlin and her beliefs, beliefs that we'd all be wise to spend a little time thinking about.
To quote from the Classes4Classes Mission Statement, the plan is 'to teach children to have a genuine interest in the wellbeing of others, by providing a platform through which to actively engage them in social curriculum. Students will learn kindness by being kind, they will learn to care by caring, and they will learn empathy by being empathetic. By creating an environment where students learn to care for others not by talking but by doing, we cultivate a message that our lives are not separate, but in fact completely connected. When we teach kindness, compassion, love and empathy, there is no room for hate'.
It's a powerful statement and one that appeals to us all here at OM® for obvious reasons . . .
To quote Kaitlin, 'After experiencing a tragedy immeasurable in its scope, I've come to realize that there are no words of explanation and there never will be. Instead, we need to make a choice for ourselves, our students, our nation and our world. If we choose love, kindness, empathy, compassion and hope, which I so believe we should, then we need to make a point to teach these things. When we use active experience to show our students the impact of helping someone else, it ultimately changes our social climate. If every student is able to experience this, just imagine what our world will be like'.
It's rare that we encounter someone who seems to be quite so on our wavelength as Kaitlin and, given the importance placed on things such as love, kindness, empathy, compassion and hope around here, it's little surprise that this has made a big impact in our studio.
There's little more for us to add, other than to acknowledge that this has made us think hard about certain things and, for that, we couldn't be more grateful to Kaitlin. It's our hope that it has made you think too. Here's to kindness, and here's to love . . .