We tend to think of regret, particularly in connection with
missed opportunities, as an adult emotion. Not so! Jacqueline
Woodson's Each Kindness, beautifully illustrated by E. B. Lewis, shows
that this subtle pain can occur in the lives of young children. When
read with a caring adult, it can help expand a youngster's emotional
A poorly dressed new girl, Maya, enters Chloe's class. She
tries to make friends with Chloe and her chums, approaching them,
trying to share small toys. Because they reject her she eventually
gives up, resigned to playing by herself.
Maya is absent the day the class talks about kindness. The
teacher tells each child to say a kind thing she or he has done.
Chloe can't think of any. She tells herself when Maya comes back she
will return her hopeful smile. This doesn't happen. Maya and her
family have moved.
"That afternoon I walked home alone.
When I reached the pond, my throat felt filled with
All the things I wished I would have said to Maya,
Each kindness I had never shown."
What could Chloe do to make the sadness go away? Could she decide to
reach out to the next new child in her classroom? Come to think of
it, this book provides a great way for kids to think of coping skills
for dealing with the inevitable regrets that enter everyone's life.
On a personal note, my church had an opening for an assistant
religious ed director. I applied. Yesterday I learned that they
found someone else more qualified. It was for the better. I would
have had to give up attending adult Sunday school. My classmates
think I'm really smart and contribute a lot to discussions. They
really like me too. They probably would have felt loss and sadness.
That would have made me feel regret. I hadn't realized this when I
A great big shout out goes out to my adult Sunday school class and
Pastor Steve who teaches it. Also to our school guidance counselors
and all the good work they do.
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod