When my daughter and her classmates returned to in-person school in October, one of her (and my!) favorite differences from online school was the return of the Classroom Jobs. As I learned over the first few weeks, the jobs the students will cycle through include a few which are self-explanatory: Line Leader, Door Holder, Table Cleaner Caboose. There are others that require a little more explanation: Botanist (waters the classroom plants), Sustainability Officer (sorts the recycling and trash to look for items that should be recycled). And then there is my favorite: Heart Helper.
The Heart Helper’s job, as explained by my seven-year-old, is “to say something kind or encouraging during Meeting Time.” These encouraging words could be anything from wishing a classmate happy birthday to complimenting someone’s playground skills to sharing appreciation for a story that person has shared or that they have on a cool shirt.
I’ve thought a lot about this idea over the past couple of months. First of all, I’m thankful that the school has created this system that encourages the students to speak life and kindness to each other. But even more than that, I’m challenged to become a Heart Helper to those around me. I’m reminded of Proverbs 16:24, which says that “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”
And in this most challenging of years, couldn’t we all use a little encouragement, or sweetness to our souls? So if you want to be an encourager, or a Heart Helper there a few things to keep in mind:
Look around you. Is one of your friends having a tough week? Does your husband have a big deadline at work? Is one of your kids quieter than usual? With everything each of us has going on in our own daily lives, it can be hard to look up to see what is going on outside of our individual world, but I bet if you pay attention, you’ll find opportunities to be a Heart Helper all around you.
Sharing openly and vulnerably with others isn’t always natural, and it isn’t always reciprocated, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. If you see someone who needs a word of encouragement, take the step to say something. Chances are, you will make that person’s day. There could be healing and inspiration, which may lead to impact far beyond the one person you speak life to, so don’t be nervous – use your words for good.
People know when you are not being authentic, or when you are “playing them”, or providing empty praise for some ulterior motive. So check your heart before you speak up, to make sure you are speaking for the sake of lifting up another, rather than seeking something for yourself.
Consider one way you could be a Heart Helper to someone you know today. I bet it will lift both your spirit and theirs. And maybe, if we all help each other’s hearts a little, the world will become a kinder place for our kids to live in.