Kindness and Goodness
Last Wednesday we had an opportunity for the entire school to visit Edendale Sustainability Farm. It was a great day of learning about God’s creation and the many systems which sustain life. There were many highlights, but for me the best part was seeing students enjoy their learning whole heartedly.
This last fortnight we have been focusing on kindness and goodness in our journey through the fruits of the spirit. At times it is difficult to see the difference between the two concepts, but it was our Grade 5/6 class who suggested that the difference between the two lies in our motivation.
If our motivation to do kindness comes from our desire to avoid being punished, or because we feel we ‘have to’, that changes the nature of act. God calls us do acts of kindness not from these motives, but out of goodness.
Goodness is the desire to love our brothers and sisters in the same manner that God loves us. That is, unconditionally and without seeking reward.
On Monday I asked the students, “When was the last time you made your bed and cleaned your room without your parents having to ask you?” In the same way, we must ask ourselves, “When we do kind things for each other, are we doing this because we want to, or because God told us to?”
I do not think it is an accident that processes around gaining faith and gaining the ability to learn are similar. While we can push students to learn and we can push them to attend church, this isn’t the same as our students having a self-driven faith and a self-driven desire to learn.
The old adage is very true: ‘Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime’. In the same way, if you force your child to do their homework they will progress a little; foster a love of learning in your child, and they will learn for a lifetime. While it takes time and effort to foster a love of kindness in a child, this is the business I believe God would have us to.
May all our actions in learning and life be inspired by God’s goodness.