Monday, April 16, 2018

Fruit of the Spirit: Kindness

Here’s another newly published book that directly relates to one of The Fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians. This story mostly takes place in a classroom so elementary age children will especially relate and see ways they can become more kind.
Picture Book: Be Kind
Author: Pat Zietlow
Illustrator: Jen Hill
Summary: This story begins with Tanisha's accident.
Then the unnamed narrator's words of compassion are misunderstood. 
Empathy for Tanisha builds thanks to the illustrator. The narrator struggles with what to do. 
She paints a purple picture for Tanisha but is afraid she will hurt her again so she imaginatively explores what kindness looks like.
She considers spilling her own juice, just to be more helpful. 
What is it to be kind? Cookies for a neighbor? 
Passing on some outgrown shoes?
Helping at home? 
Caring for the class pet? 
Perhaps just paying attention to her classmates with affirmation 
or invitation. 
Listening can even be an act of kindness, especially when you've heard the stories before. 
She believes being kind should be easily done throughout that day. 
And her mom suggests that using someone's name is especially kind. 
Kindness sometimes requires a lot of patience. 
The hardest (and scariest) of kindness is sticking up for a friend. Now, back to Tanisha. 
She decides that she can't solve Tanisha's problem (such great insight!), but she can offer her gift knowing that Tanisha likes purple too. 
Then her insight becomes broader. She realizes that her small gesture can grow just as she imagines how a kindness to a grandmother 
spreads to a granddaughter and then to a granddaughter's friend. 
Kindness can spread throughout her community, 
her country, 
and her whole world 
while still helping Tanisha experience kindness 
and helping her learn to be kind again and again. 
Hanna’s Comments: This is a great PBT book for lots of reasons. The narrator is authentically exploring ways to be kind. She is a wonderful model for that growing edge of spiritual formation. Be Kind offers so many relevant situations in which children can directly see kindness put into action. Many examples are tucked into the illustrations so point these out. Also, this book captures how simple acts of kindness can grow and positively affect a whole community in time. Lastly, this book highlights the spiritual practice of imagination. In just a few moments at her art desk, this narrator has some amazing insight. Consider offering new scenarios of potential kindness to your children after reading the book, but be sure to address (as this book does) when kindness is hard. Be Kind could be read to adults if you quickly translate the situations into adult contexts. Surely adults need to be talking about kindness, particularly in such politically divided and uncivil times.
Original Publisher & Date: Roaring Brook Press, 2018
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet
Scripture Connections: In addition to The Fruit of the Spirit verses in Galatians 5:22-23…One who is kind is benefitted (Proverbs 11:17); She opens her mouth with wisdom; the teaching of kindness is on her tongue (Proverbs 31:26); Love is patient and kind (1 Corinthians 13:4); Be kind to one another (Ephesians 4:32); Put on then… compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…(Colossians 3:12)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to group of elementary-aged children and help them see ways they can build their kindness skills and why this is pleasing to God.