Kinder than is necessary. March 5, 2018

Excerpt from the book WONDER, by RJ Palacio
This is part of the graduation speech from the Director of the middle- school.

When you reflect on this past year, I want you all to look at where you are now and where you've been. You've all gotten a little taller, a little stronger, and a little smarter...I hope.
But the best way to measure how much you've grown isn't by inches or the number of laps you can now run around the track, or even your grade point average - though those things are important, to be sure. It's what you've done with your time, how you've chosen to spend your days, and whom you have touched this year. That,to me, is the greatest measure of success. There's a wonderful line in a book by JM Barrie called, The Little White Bird...he writes "Shall we make a new rule of life...always to try to be a little kinder than is necessary?"
Here the Director looks up at the audience. "Kinder than is necessary," he repeats. What a marvelous line, isn't it? Kinder than is necessary. Because it's not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed.
Why I love this line, that concept, is that it reminds me that we carry with us, as human beings, not just the capacity to be kind, but the very choice of kindness.
What I want you, my students, to take away from your middle-school experience, is the sure knowledge that, in the future you make for yourselves, anything is possible. If every single person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than necessary- the world would be a better place.