This semester, we have been bombarded by sordid tales of impeachment proceedings and heartbreaking accounts of gun violence in our communities, both near and far. The recent deaths of Carol Spinney, who portrayed Big Bird for decades on Sesame Street, and Fred Rogers, our beloved Mister Rogers, seem to be yet another note on the bleak ticker sheet of moments that mark a turning point in our collective loss of innocence.
What should not be lost, however, is our collective humanity and determination to carry forth the lessons of love and kindness that we’ve learned from Big Bird, Mister Rogers, and over the course of our own life experiences, especially in those moments that were not kind to us. This holiday season, one of the best gifts you can give to anyone is to just hold space for them. Let them talk to you about their day, share their thoughts and feelings with you, be comforted by you, or simply spend quality time with you. Check in with and support each other through this finals season (especially those of us who have turned into hermits)!
Kindness isn’t just a collection of sweet sentiments, though. It requires standing up against oppression whenever you can, however you can. Cultivate values that honor the common humanity in us all and stick to them, even when it would be easier not to. Give your time to causes that improve people’s lives. Combat hate and ignorance with information, and yes, love. Build community wherever you go.
Kindness also requires showing yourself the kindness you show to others. Hold space for yourself this holiday season. Confide in your loved ones, your pets. Going home for the holidays might be a challenging endeavor, so figure out healthy ways to create boundaries that work for you and deal with your emotions. When it gets to be too much to handle alone, find someone who is willing to listen (there are more of us than you think)! Strive to discover new and healthy ways to know and love yourself better, and this will make it easier to know and love others better too.
As the former children who grew up with PBS, let’s create a legacy that both Big Bird and Mister Rogers can be proud of. The Guilfordian sends its warm wishes for a safe, enjoyable, and relaxing winter break. Commiserate, celebrate, hold each other in the light, and by exercising compassion and kindness, be the light for others.