The other day I was eating lunch with a group of third grade students. There were eight of us crowded around a table. We were having a good time talking and laughing.
I looked around the room and noticed a student from my class eating alone at a table. As I was about to head over to her, one of the students at the table with us must have noticed me looking at her and asked, “Why is she eating alone?”
Immediately three students from our table jumped up and went over to her. One of them started talking to her about coming over to join us. The other two were taking her food and chair and bringing it to our table. The rest of us at the table started making room. Our crowded table of eight became a cozy table of nine.
If children can’t show the kind of compassion these students showed to another student, what good does it do any of us? If they don’t know how to show empathy to another person, what chance will they try to make things better for others if they don’t ever try to walk in other people’s shoes?
This example of compassion and kindness that these students showed is what gives me hope for the future. We can create the most fantastic standards this world has ever seen. We can teach them all kinds of wonderful things to help them succeed in the business world. We can give them amazing learning experiences for them to explore and discover things on their own.
But moments like these are immeasurable. No amount of standards writing, rigor setting, college-and-career readying, high stakes testing can ever come close to this.