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Posted on Apr 30, 2012

Assembly Speaker Emphasizes, “Kindness is a Gesture of Respect.”

April 26, 2012

Charles Calhoun, Best Buddies Ambassador, spoke at today’s assembly for Grades 2-6 students about the importance of kindness and respect.

Diagnosed as a child with Williams Syndrome, autism, and attention deficit disorder, he shared, “When I was your age, I didn’t have a lot of friends. I wasn’t invited to birthday parties, movies, or to hang out. When I was your age, people didn’t want to be my friend because I was different.”

His message was one of appreciating differences as well as recognizing that, as different as we may seem, we share many things in common; through kindness and respect, we can find common ground. As he noted, “I was born with a disability. I didn’t choose that, but it is part of who I am. I bet I can name a few things that we have in common: I love cartoons, wrestling, playing sports, listening to music, playing video games, and working on cars.”

In regard to building community, he advised, “It is really important that you be kind to each other. Kindness is a gesture of respect, and it makes making friends easier. When you use negative words like dumb, stupid, or idiot, you are hurting people–you are tearing people down when you have the power to build them up! If someone is struggling, help that person; if someone is doing something good, pay him or her a compliment.”

He continued, “Every day, your actions change the people around you. Humans react to each other, and what you are doing causes a reaction.”

In his closing remarks, Charles asked the second through sixth graders to take the following pledge: “I pledge to be kind to others. I pledge to think about the words I choose and to not insult people. I pledge to see people and accept them for their abilities, and their uniqueness.”

Interestingly, it took only minutes before students popped up with questions such as, “How did you handle it when a classmate was mean?” and “What is your favorite movie/cartoon/video game?” Very quickly, Charles and the children found the common ground.

Alison Fleming
Head of School

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