The Greatest Gift

This past week has been one of deep reflection and sadness. The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut reminds us all of the fragility of life. My heart breaks thinking about the lives lost and the holes in the hearts of the survivors. It is crushing. It is difficult to know what to think or even attempt to make sense out of something so absolutely and devastatingly senseless. In fact, the only thing that truly made sense to me this past weekend was to hug my children often and to show my family abundant love.

As educators and parents we have the awesome responsibility of gifting future generations with lessons not found in most textbooks or e-readers; compassion, empathy, cooperation, respect and peace are character traits and virtues that we model and teach one interaction at a time….with our families, friends, coworkers and perfect strangers. While proficiency on the state standards and mastery of the ACT or SATs is a goal, one of the greatest gifts we can pass on to the children in our homes and classrooms is the ability to master caring and to help them be proficient in showing kindness.

“If you have the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.” ~One of Mr. Brown’s precepts in Wonder, by R.J. Palacio

We are carefully reviewing our school’s safety protocols, and will continue to conduct regular crisis drills over the course of the school year. We will also do the little things that make a BIG difference. We’ll strive to make choices that impact attitudes and dispositions….lifting spirits and building community. I emphatically encourage you to join us in this important endeavor; when given the chance….choose kindness. Choose it often. Authentically. Unswervingly. Choose it when you are in a hurry. Choose it when it’s not deserved. Choose kindness because it makes a difference and impacts generations.

We never know what tomorrow will bring. Embrace the day and fill it with kindness overflowing. Let gratitude be your trademark and courage to confront callousness be your calling card.

Blessings and peace to you and yours.

Originally posted December 18, 2012

About Dr. Brad Gustafson

I am an elementary principal and author in Minnesota. You can connect with me at or on Twitter via @GustafsonBrad

Posted on July 9, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

In Kids' Shoes

Inspiring the Next Generation of Innovators

Adjusting Course

Responding to the Needs of the 21st Century Student

On The Leaders Edge

A Reflection of Life, Learning and Leadership

Digital Eyes

Looking at Education Through the Lens of 21st Century Skills

Shelley Burgess

Reflections of an educational learner and leader

The Principal's Principles

A Middle School Principal, striving to make the world a better place, one day at a time.


True, he said; how could they see anything but the shadows if they were never allowed to move their heads?

Engaged and Relevant

Just another site

Pernille Ripp

Teacher. Author. Creator. Speaker. Mom.

The Thesis Whisperer

Just like the horse whisperer - but with more pages

%d bloggers like this: