This week at school I felt like some of my students didn't quite realize how much I cared about them as individuals. I tried to show a lot of patience when they would communicate with me in a somewhat less-respectful manner. I've learned by now that just because someone treats me in a negative way doesn't call for me to do the same to them. In fact, it's really an occasion to do quite the opposite, to treat them with increased kindness and respect, and invite them to do the same. In my seven years of teaching, I can hardly think of one student that hasn't eventually come around to treating me well.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." I have thought a lot about that scripture and the implications of our words ministering grace to others.
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin taught, "Kindness is the essence of greatness and the fundamental characteristic of the noblest men and women I have known." There is a real power in kindness that helps people open up their hearts and perceive the person before them as a human being, and hopefully as a child of God. The key, then, is to develop a habit of kindness, which is certainly a lifelong endeavor.