“Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” - Philippians 2:4
The Village School of Naples is unique to other independent schools for many reasons. One of the main ways is the core belief in the utilization of Christ Skills. As a faith-based school, TVS students attend weekly chapel, are taught Bible curriculum and strive to embody the values of Christ through attributes like patience, courage and caring. The commitment to highlighting Christian values as a moral compass is one of the main reasons my family and I were so thrilled to join The Village School of Naples this school year. As I reflect on the 23 qualities highlighted in our collection of Christ Skills, caring is one the first that comes to mind.
You may know the month of February is dedicated to kindness. February 17th is officially Random Acts of Kindness Day. Additionally, the Kindness Rocks Project is quite popular right now, with families all over the country painting rocks and hiding or placing them at beaches, parks and all over for others to find. The words “Be Kind’ can be found on key chains, water bottles and journals everywhere. The kindness movement is in full swing, and it is wonderful. While kind words and actions can seem small, their effects are often more profound than many realize. Kindness and caring seem to go hand-in-hand. This got me thinking about the differences between kindness and caring, and if there even are differences.
Kindness, by definition, is benevolent, friendly, generous and gentle in nature, and is marked by consideration for, or the service of helping others. Caring, by definition, is a person who is kind, sensitive and empathetic. The way I understand this is...in kindness, a person may feel concern for someone, but in caring, a person will consider the feelings of another and minister to them, especially if that person is suffering.
This example might shed more light on the matter - let’s say you see an elderly, homeless man in dirty clothes begging on the street for money or food. An act of kindness would be to give the homeless person money or food and wish them well. An act of caring, on the other hand, would be to go to the homeless man, have a conversation with him to better understand his problems and arrange for food, a shower, clean clothes and shelter for this person. Caring takes the act of kindness a step further and empathizes with compassion to put yourself in some else’s shoes.
The commandments teach us to love your neighbor as yourself. This, too, requires a step beyond kindness. It asks us to see ourselves in our neighbor. To treat them the way we wish to be treated. This golden rule reminds us that if we were dirty, homeless and hungry we would want more than $5 or a Big Mac. We would want someone to care enough to hear our story and help us back on our feet without judgment. Caring is a Christ Skill because it reflects the heart and mind of Jesus Christ. Jesus didn’t just show kindness to the suffering, diseased and outcast people of his time. He befriended them, loved them and cared for them. Philippians 2:4 tells us, “Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”
As Christians, we are to love one another as Christ loves us. In the month of kindness, and in the spirit of caring, I invite you to reflect on this vitally important quality. I am grateful the students of The Village School are taking time to consider the significance of Christ Skills like caring. With a caring heart, we can do as Paul suggests and “follow after things which make for peace, and things by which we may build one another up.” In caring, we make a meaningful difference in the lives of others, and that makes the world a brighter place to be.