Is She Kind?

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

We had our first parent’s evening this week.  Our first experience of sitting down with a teacher to hear our children’s crimes and accomplishments.

I remember being the kid at one of those.  Standing awkwardly and nervously, watching as my teachers recounted the fact I have terrible spelling but a creative mind, can’t sing for toffee but can follow a beat, and might possibly be better at mathematics if I stopped hiding under my desk and quaking every time the word “fractions” was mentioned.

But being the adult whilst my daughter watched on?  That was weird.  And I was definitely more nervous than she was.  She thought it was a great lark being at school after hours, gallivanting around the playground and showing me the ride on cars, shrieking “Mummy!  Daddy!  Watch me!” as she crashed into the fence.

I wasn’t nervous because I was expecting a lecture from her teacher, I know she’s a good girl (for the most part) and I know she’s bright, but I don’t know what she’s like in class.  My only experience is peeling her from my leg whilst she howls, and forcing her into the arms of the waiting teaching assistant whilst I hurry away trying not to sob.  What is she like when she finally calms down?  Who is she when she’s in a crowd of her peers, when she’s expected to follow instructions, when there’s no parent around.

Turns out she’s fine.  Probably a better version of who she is when she’s at home by the sounds of it.  Not naughty, bright as a button, willing to learn, and loves taking part.  Obviously I was beaming my head off.

But before we left I had to ask.  Is she kind?

The academic stuff I wasn’t particularly worried about, not at this age.  I know it will matter as she grows, but right now as long as she’s happy in school that’s more important.  I didn’t want to put stress of learning on her little three year old brain, that can come later.  But being kind?  That matters now.  That matters always.

It’s something I’ve tried to instill in her, respect for kindness.  An enthusiasm to help others, concern for how people feel, desire to bring about happiness in other’s lives, and willingness to share and take turns.  We talk about it at home, encourage it at all times, and she’s a very generous and loving little person.  However, she also is dramatic and stroppy, and gets into raging fights with her step brother.

Which Rose was she at school? I cant imagine her being a bully or a cruel person, she’s too loving, but what if I was wrong?  What if I had been viewing her through rose tinted (!!) glasses and she was only nice to certain people, but put in a crowd of peers prone to unleashing an unpleasant streak.  If she was smart but unkind I would have lost my beaming smile.  If she was smart but didn’t bring joy to others, or didn’t care how other people feel.  If she was struggling a bit with numbers or colours then you can just practice, and accept that people have strengths in different areas.  If she’s cruel or uncaring?  Is that just a personality thing?  Is that something you can’t work on?

Her teacher looked a little surprised at the question but then smiled warmly and said definitely.  That she’s lovely to the other children, shares beautifully which many struggle with, and is never mean.  She’s a very kind little girl.

At that revelation I nearly burst into tears.  I was so proud, so happy.  So relieved that my mothering, which I sometimes fear is a little shoddy when I’m having a low day, had produced someone like my little girl.

Of course, today when she thought it was hysterical to try and stick her lollipop in my hair and to my face whist cackling maniacally, I wasn’t so full of smiles.  But other than that we’re doing pretty well, I’d say.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and The Boy (Jonathan McKinney) and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

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2 responses to “Is She Kind?

  1. You and Simon were kind. Always willing to share, except possibly with each other. Some children are certainly selfish, and sadly that continues into adult life. I cannot detect an unkind bone in Rose. Not one.

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