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Otterbein Towers Magazine: Reflections on Kindness

Otterbein Towers Magazine: Reflections on Kindness


Editor’s Note: This story can be found in the latest edition of Otterbein Towers Magazine. Read more stories from Towers online.

 

Members of the Otterbein community share their thoughts and experiences with kindness.

Jeremy Paul ’19
political science major, educational studies minor, Otterbein University Student Government president

Kindness is the act of showing love, gratitude, and respect for fellow humans and the world around us.

After the passing of my grandfather, my teammates on the Summer Orientation, Advising and Registration (SOAR) Team exemplified kindness in a way that I have never seen before. Their willingness to be by my side through it all helped me in ways that they’ll never know. Losing someone is hard, but acts of kindness from the ones you love can make it so much easier.

 

Jean Stambach Thomas ’91
teacher at the Ohio School for the Deaf

Kindness is the act of putting others before self. Kindness matters as an educator shaping young minds, as well as towards colleagues and staff whom you work with to make a better learning environment.

The biggest act of kindness I see is when the teachers and administrators and staff that I work with give of themselves through their time, as well as their gifts, to families in need. Each Christmas, they collect toys, clothes, shoes and other items to help make Christmas brighter for our families. And whenever needed, they pitch in to support families in crisis, from the death of a family member to a house fire, and everything in between.

 

Rev. David Hogg ’67
former pastor of the Church of the Master United Methodist Church, Westerville (retired) volunteer chaplain for Westerville Fire and Police

I learned from my parents that kindness is a lifestyle fulfilling the Golden Rule of Jesus, “Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.” My response is to see others through the heart of love seeking to respond to persons in need around me.

As a chaplain, I am involved with people in crisis during the most painful and raw moments of their lives. I can respond with a compassion and kindness that gives them hope when their world has suddenly exploded. Kindness is a lifeline helping them back to life when they feel all is lost.

When I was in third grade, a new student joined our class in the middle of the year. He was very poor. On his first day at lunch he only had a pencil in his lunch bag. Many of the students laughed at him. I did what my parents taught me. I sat down next to him and shared my lunch with him letting him know he would always have a friend in the class. He was only with us for a couple of weeks when his parents moved again. I never saw him after that, but that moment has always reminded me kindness is a powerful response of love that we can all do.

 

Lauren Lichtenauer ’11
founder and executive director for Christopher’s Promise, a 501c3 non-profit that provides adaptive bicycles to children with physical disabilities

To me, kindness is acting without expectation of reciprocity or recognition. Kindness is hard-wired into us — even 18-month-old children, who are relatively unburdened by social norms, show strong tendencies to help others.

Without the support of our partners, we would not have been able to deliver over 90 adaptive bicycles to chlldren across the country.

We met Connor in the summer of 2016. Connor was diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was 7 years old. Following surgery, he had visual deficits, language issues, slurred speech, impaired memory, and several balance issues. Connor had one goal following surgery: to ride a bike. That summer, Connor was able to take home his very own bike (from Christopher’s Promise) and set a personal goal of riding 100 miles and raising $1,000 for Christopher’s Promise. Connor met both goals. I was moved by Connor’s selflessness and consideration to help our cause and provide for another kid like him.

 

Shirine Mafi
professor, business, accounting and economics

Kindness means possessing compassion, empathy, and being humble. It also means putting others before oneself. We all experience joy, grief, happiness, and sadness. That’s universal. So if we know this, we should realize the importance of bringing joy to someone in need of cheering up, or food in times of hunger.

As educators, one of our tasks is to reflect on our teaching to see how we can train the future leaders to be more socially conscious. This responsibility is not only moral, it’s essential. Once students leave the University, it should be instilled in them to always put themselves in the shoes of others, and to think of the consequences their decisions will have on their community, their country and the world.

The biggest act of kindness I have witnessed is seeing how our family tries to help friends and strangers with small and large acts of kindness — from sending a basket of fruits to someone that needs cheering up, to taking care of a family member’s financial or emotional needs, to helping a friend go through a dramatic experience.

 

Andre Lampkins ’03
Otterbein Young Alumni Leadership and Citizen Award winner (2014)

Kindness in its purest form is an expression of care and concern that doesn’t beg for attention, recognition or gratitude. Kindness for me has been a way of life.

Having served as a mentor for resource challenged youth since 1998, I’ve found that it’s one of the most engaging ways to spread kindness. Mentoring creates a butterfly effect that allows kindness to become engrained in those it affects.

I’ve seen so many acts of kindness, but one stands out for me. I once interrupted my son’s video gaming to make him help me shovel snow during a snow day. He begrudgingly shoveled and salted our driveway while I did the long sidewalk. Our elderly neighbor came out to do his driveway and without hesitation, my son rushed across the street to relieve the man of his shovel and told him he could return to the warmth of his home. Without complaining, asking for compensation or help from me, he worked outside for over an hour and cleared the driveway and sidewalk and came home without mentioning it. I never asked him to shovel snow again, because I knew that he’d already learned the lessons I was trying to teach.

 

Read more stories about kindness in the latest edition of Otterbein Towers Magazine, available online now.