Maybe it’s because I’ve been working in a school, surrounded by things targeted at little kids, but I’ve been reminiscing a lot about my childhood lately. One of my favorite TV shows when I was growing up was “Arthur,” whose theme song is still such a jam and whose lyrics fit really well with what I’ve been contemplating this week:
“Every day when you’re walking down the street,
Everybody that you meet has an original point of view.
And I say – Hey! (Hey!)
What a wonderful kind of day, if we could learn to work and play
And get along with each other”
KIPP works to promote a safe culture for its students and staff, and I think that’s a big part of why I have so many “wonderful kind of days” here. Everyone really works to understand and learn from each other. I’ve got a perfect example of this in action. In the wake of recent events, the KIPP Foundation’s Facebook page posted a series of submissions from KIPP students, alumni, and staff from all over the country on the issues of police brutality and racism (if you’re interested in reading some, go back to July 7th and 8th on the page. Seriously, they’re worth looking through.) I’d seen people sharing some of these posts on Facebook, and was blown away by the eloquence and power of their statements. At work this week, I helped create a poster for the office with quotes from these Facebook posts taped up all over it–it’s now hanging right in the center of the office for all to see. I’ve watched all of my coworkers walk past it and carefully read the statements upon it, informing themselves on the situation and shaking their heads at the upsetting state of our nation.
That sort of thing is what KIPP is all about: working to create a safe place for everyone, and staying informed in order to be able to give voice to those who are in need. One of KIPP’s national mottoes is “Work Hard. Be Nice.” Because at KIPP, working hard is incredibly important, and being nice to others isn’t a suggestion; it’s a guarantee. Treating your fellow humans kindly is not something that you should do, it’s something that you must do. Amazingly, everyone seems to wholeheartedly comply, and it makes the office such a cheerful, comforting place. It just makes you wonder how much brighter the world would be if everyone took the same approach.