Poetry Friday: Naomi Shihab Nye – “Kindness”

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So ends a long week, a difficult week of feeling unwell and being in a great deal of pain. Tomorrow I head off to my doctor to figure out what may be going on: a resurgence of shingles? Lyme disease? Just a new phase of my fibromyalgia? No good options there…none.

But, there was so much to do in our classroom this week: finish our read aloud to get ready for our first big literary project, finish our Shay’s Rebellion movie to get set up for our Constitutional Convention newspaper project, and prepare for our very first writing celebrations. So, day after day, my kids showed up to learn and I showed up to teach.  At the end of each day, I noticed that my kids were noticing me – that it was hard for me to move, and that once the teaching adrenaline crashed at the end of the period, I … well, I “didn’t look so great” (yes, Matt, you were right, and no, I was not offended).  None of them said much, but my teaching days were filled with my kids’ little acts of kindness.   Today, knowing that I wouldn’t be in tomorrow, they passed along gentle wishes of feel better, get well.  Sixth graders are not generally known for thinking beyond their own needs and feelings, but they do…  I dragged myself out of out classroom with so much gratitude for their kindness.

Kindness - naomi shihab nye

14 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Naomi Shihab Nye – “Kindness”

  1. So sorry to hear that you’ve had a tough week, and hope the doctor or some new magical medicine will help, Tara. Some don’t believe, but 6th graders can be kind, I know. What sweet kids to care, and how wonderful is that Naomi Nye poem. In spite of your feeling low, thank you for sharing a marvelous poem.

  2. Naomi Shihab Nye is one of my favorite poets, and this is one of my favorite poems by her. I hope that the doctor will diagnose what’s going on and get you on the road to recovery really quickly. Take care!

  3. I am aware that you have to power through so many days. I am so sorry this was that kind of week for you. Kindness is what we all need, but especially when we are not feeling well. I hope you find a solution to your pain. This poem gets carried in my pocket for poem in your pocket day.

  4. I am so sorry about this tough week. Of course those kids care, and I’m glad that you’ve created a place where they can show that. Meanwhile we all hope your doctor can find solutions and that you do what is necessary to care for your good self.

  5. “Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore…” These words resonate so deeply for me they bring tears to my eyes. I hope your doctor can offer you some relief and that you’re feeling better soon!

  6. I’m so sorry to hear this, Tara – hope the doctor has some answers for you. Sounds like you are at the point where you might be able to speak to your sorrow, as Naomi Shihab Nye suggests, in order to catch the thread and “see the size of the cloth.” Sending good thoughts your way. (It sounds like you’re a wonderful teacher – no wonder your students feel like being kind in return.)

  7. You give your whole heart to your students, so it’s no wonder that they give some back to you when you need it most. Gentle hugs, and hope for relief.

  8. Tara, I am so sorry you are not feeling well. Saying a prayer for healing and relief soon! The kindness they showed is a direct reflection of the relationships you’ve developed with them. Beautiful story and beautiful poem. Thank you for sharing!

  9. I do hope you are getting answers to what is going on. What a blessing it is to have students who care so much already and even notice! First graders may notice, and even talk kindly and comfortingly, but they forget, and tend to unintentionally take advantage of your weakened state. Kind of like the commercial I just saw where two kids are playing and one screams at the other to be quiet because mom has a headache!
    The poem you shared is beautiful!
    Get well! I’m putting you in a prayer now.

  10. I am hoping you will be diagnosed and treated and feeling stronger soon. You give out so much to so many, your family, your students, your friends, teachers you know, your literacy community online and at conferences and strangers…..the kindness is a loop for you and all the best wishes for healing and strength will come your way. Kindness….it was my class rule….Be kind (be nice, if kind is yet too much for you), work hard, help everyone (others, if everyone is yet too much for you). I called them the 3 Keys to Success. You live this, the children know it. They love you. In their student way. And the poem is beautiful. I am impressed and amazed that you were able to keep going. Be well.

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