The following is written by Mike Nelson, Enumclaw School District Superintendant
Power of Kindness is February’s free workshop sponsored by SoHaPP – Habits for Happiness, and the community is encouraged to join this gathering. Let me share how I learned about this most important characteristic in one’s life.
This is the year my dad would have turned 100. Both of my parents were in their 40s when I arrived; my dad 45 (you can now determine my age!). My next older sibling is seven and a half years older than I am (eight years in school), so much of my life I was raised as an only child. Different from my siblings, I think I had many more conversations alone with my mom and dad. Several conversations that I had with my mom often included the sentence, “Your dad is the kindest person I know.” It was not unusual for the words kindness and love to be included in conversations in our home. The words do seem to connect!
My dad served in World War II and participated until the war ended in 1945. He returned to Enumclaw and began working at the Enumclaw Post Office for the next four decades. It’s been seven years now since his death. I often think of him, remembering my mom’s tender words about how he lived his life. Here are a few examples of how my dad showed his kindness:
• If there was a baby or toddler in the room, that child would end up in my father’s arms for the rest of the event.
• If you wanted to learn how to hit, throw or catch a baseball, my dad would spend hours with you (which is the reason the baseball field at Montgomery Park is named in his honor).
• If you needed your mail delivered in a special manner, he would make sure to accommodate this for you.
• If you came to his house for Halloween, you received special bags of candy with a dollar bill included (families drove to his house for this).
• Finally, if you were his child, he would work his whole life to ensure you were set up for your life by funding college and setting you up in your first home.
Kindness comes in many forms. At times kindness is planned… maybe a meal for someone who is ill or a note of congratulations. Other times kindness is spontaneous through “in the moment” actions that have lasting impact.
On Feb. 3 at 10:30 a.m. at the Enumclaw Library, I will be facilitating a conversation on kindness. I would love for you to join me for this conversation in helping to have kindness ripple through our community!
SoHaPP is also hosting at the Enumclaw Library a book group event beginning at 7 p.m. on Feb. 21 to discuss “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio. Extra copies are at the library and The Sequel has it for $12.74. SoHaPP is even having a free showing of the new movie “Wonder” at Chalet Theatre on Feb. 24 at 12:30 p.m. This wrenching but heart-warming story is of a 10-year-old boy with facial abnormalities entering public school for the first time, and how his community learns to look beyond appearances. A workshop, book read and movie – different ways to learn about the incredible power of kindness.