We each have one. Or several.
We are known by our strengths. And our weaknesses. We are known for what we do, and what we fail to do. We are known by our impact on others; by the heartprints we make on the people we encounter.
Our deepest hope? That our primary reputation is one of enriching the hearts and empowering the lives of others. Making the world a better place, one person, one heartprint, at a time. Sprinkling kindness like confetti.
The best place to see these heartprints created? Watch children in action.
The first graders in our school recently encouraged us to think of ways we could leave heartprints for others. To consider ways to brighten the days of the people around us. A few words of encouragement. A moment to help someone in need. A listening ear or a friendly hug.
The students in my class chose to fashion cards for a little girl named Serenity who lives across the country. She sat in a hospital in Boston fighting a terrible sickness, and all she wanted was some hand-written cards for her birthday, which coincidentally fell on Valentine’s Day. This little soon-to-be-six-year-old had a simple wish. Cards.
We could do that.
So we got to work, drawing, cutting, writing, coloring and folding. Making our cards. Fashioning our heartprints. As we discussed the joy that precious little Serenity would feel opening packages of cards, one of my students, Harini, remarked:
“Isn’t that what we do best”?
I asked Harini, what she meant by her statement, and to expound on it further. And I witnessed the perspective of someone who understands how to create heartprints.
Q: What did mean by your statement?
H: I meant that making people happy is what we do best. I also meant that we will make more people happy in the future.
Q: Is taking time to show kindness to others better than how we spend time in math, reading, or other school subjects? If so, how?
H: I would say your education is almost as equal to showing kindness to others, but showing love, compassion, or some other way that we care about a person or animal is more important to me than my own education. Now it’s not that I don’t care about school. Actually I love school, but even without an education, I can still love those all around me, and show compassion for those in need.
Q: How does taking time to help others make you a better student?
H: For me taking time to help others is a huge step for most of us. Most of us don’t realize what’s going on around us. Most of us just care if we are the fairest of them all or if we will win the next school soccer tournament. I think taking time to help others makes you a better student because showing compassion makes you really care about people in need. It also makes you really think about how much we have, and how much we probably waste every day. To be honest, I don’t always know how much I have, and I’m not always very compassionate, but I try hard to be. Which leads up to being a good student because it’s really good to think about others and do what we can when we can.
Q: What are some other ways we can do “what we do best”?
H: One way is to look at someone’s needs and decide what option would best suit them. Or you can help a friend out when they are maybe feeling upset or sad maybe even when they make a big mistake you could make a difference. Remember it’s OK to be human. I think everyone should know that once in awhile.
Q: What other thoughts or ideas do you have about helping others?
H: One idea I have is to try to think about, or experience, what that person is feeling. For example, if your friend’s parents got divorced, think about how you would feel if that was your life, and try to make them feel better based on that. But you also need to remember that it is not all about you either.
This student understands heartprints. She has a reputation of sprinkling kindness and empowering others. Children are often our best teachers. They remind us of an innocence of heart and a purity of soul that perhaps we need to relocate within us.
But it is within us. We all have the ability to create heartprints, sprinkling kindness like confetti among the people we encounter. We each have opportunities to make the world a better place, one person, one heart, at a time.
It’s the best of what we do.