It's happened a few times recently. I've described someone as being kind and had a moment of feeling like I hadn't used a strong enough word. We recently had interviews for a new Senior Leadership position at school and one part of the process for our candidates, was tea with a group of Year 7 girls. Colleagues and I observed how they interacted with the girls and got their feedback at the end. The girls were fantastic, sharing their thoughts and feelings about each candidate with careful honesty, making sure to say something positive about each one and handling criticism with tact. Talking to a colleague later I relayed that the girls had been 'so kind'. It felt a bit wishy washy but that wasn't how I meant it at all.
Writing my Year 11 reports a matter of days later I found myself using 'kind' to describe one of the girls. I had the same twinge of uncertainty about the strength of the word. The young lady in question is no wall flower. She's rough around the edges, strong, independently minded and fiercely loyal. She is by no means a push over or anyone's fool but she is kind in the strongest sense of the word imaginable.
This lead to some reflection about the nature of kindness. It often isn't easy to be kind.
It can be the packaging for delivering brutal honesty in a non-hurtful way. It's often going against the grain and can sometimes feel counter intuitive in a world of self-preservation. It takes courage to step out and set aside worries of losing face. And often we don't know the impact of those acts of kindness until later down the line, perhaps we never will. Kindness can be longstanding and long-suffering; the sign of true dedication and loyalty. It breaks down barriers. It heals. It creates unbreakable connections. It is brave. It is fierce. It is strong.