By Patti Johnson

Patti has been volunteering with Care for Pastors with The Confidante for Pastors’ Wives for 7 years after she and her husband received counsel from Care for Pastors as a way to give back to the ministry. She joined the Care for Pastors staff in January 2020. Patti is one of the administrators of The Confidante Private Facebook group for pastors' wives and is a regular contributor to weekly blogs. She loves to use her gifts and abilities to support the needs of the ministry. Patti has been married to her Pastor husband Keith for 36 years. They have 3 adult children who all to their delight live in Florida.

    Caught Being Kind

    Monday, July 24, 2023

    When our children were in elementary school, the school principal put into action a “Caught Being Kind” initiative for the students. The students were not aware of this but the teachers and other staff at the school were. As the staff witnessed acts of kindness between the students or towards staff, they would report the act and the name of the student to the principal. At the end of the school year, the “Caught Being Kind” initiative was revealed to the students and there was a tie of two students who had been the most observed being kind. They were both commended for their actions, and they were both thrilled for having been noticed. They thought that recognition amongst their peers by the principal was it.

    Several weeks later, just as lunch time was approaching, a limousine pulled up to the front of the school, and these two students were called to the office and then escorted to the waiting limousine (one of the parents had a limousine business and donated the limo and driver). The two students climbed into the limo and were driven to McDonald’s for a special treat lunch. The principal accompanied them and again commended them for their acts of kindness throughout the school year. It was never revealed what the specific acts were as the principal did not want the next year to be a competition to “win.”

    Why do I know the details of this story? My son was one of the recipients of the “Caught Being Kind” recognition that first year. I remember how thrilled he was at just the commendation before his peers. While the limo ride and lunch at McDonald’s was fun, I think it paled to the original recognition and surprise of being “Caught Being Kind.” He was at that school several more years, and witnessed other students being celebrated for their kindness. He cheered them on as they too were commended for their kindness and took a limo ride to McDonald’s for a treat lunch.

    Why do I tell this story? Because I have thought many times in our years of ministry how our focus would change if we all participated in “Caught Being Kind” towards each other. Instead, many in ministry are cited for something they did that offended someone or was just not liked by another. I have experienced the shock of having done many good things, most behind the scenes, but not all and then one misstep and folks are all over you with criticism and complaints. That just takes the wind right out of your sails.

    “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”  Luke 6:31 (ESV)

    What if we, those in ministry set the example of being the ones to initiate “Caught Being Kind” and surprised someone we serve with recognition of an act of kindness? Might that catch on in the church? Might some who have gotten used to being the “critical eye for complaints” turn that into an appreciation for the good things that are done?

    What if one day a limo pulls up to the church and someone is summoned to climb in and enjoy a treat lunch just for being “Caught Being Kind?” What if that ends up being you? Might that put wind in your sails? It did for my son, and he carries that kindness out as an adult.

    We may not be able to change the whole world, but kindness can sure change the world around us. Look out for who you can “catch” being kind!

    “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” Luke 6:31 (ESV)

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