Kind Words Can Go a Long Way

Jennifer O'Neill

Jennifer O'Neill

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” - Author Leo Buscaglia

things-people-should-say-more-often.jpgAs I walked through the halls of Whitby recently I stopped in my tracks in front of a bulletin board entitled “17 Things People Should Say More Often”.

3rd and 4th grade students were pictured next to voice bubbles with their ideas of what people should say. Here is a sampling:

  • “Do you want to play with me?”
  • “Do you need help?”
  • “Would you like to sit with me at lunch?”
  • “Do you want to be my friend?”

I was struck by these poignant questions from children who already know, at a very young age, that kind words and gestures are powerful. It occurred to me that the thread tying all these questions together is the desire for connection, to be noticed and to serve – elements of humanity every one of us crave.

Have you ever been having a bad day when someone smiled at you, complimented you unexpectedly, or held a door open for you? These small acts can, and often do, turn your whole day around. Kindnesses such as these offer connection and warmth and remind us all we are in this thing called life, replete with all its wonder and heartache, together.

Then, serendipitously, I opened my fortune cookie to see this message:


A coincidence? I think not. Kindness matters.

Jennifer O'Neill

Jennifer O'Neill

Jennifer is a mother, friend, lifelong learner, Whitby School alumna, and the director of development at Whitby. Jennifer is energized by people of all kinds, colors, shapes and sizes. Jennifer cares mostly about relationship building and getting to know as many people as possible through communication, kindness and connection.