By Jennifer Johnson, EdD
Program Director, Strategic Educational Alliances
I was walking down the sidewalk on the Grand Canyon University campus, headed toward Building 26, thinking about how worried I was that our nation was losing its ability to be kind, compassionate and understanding. I knew I was fortunate to come to work each day for an organization that models our best, but nonetheless I was worried about what I witnessed in the media on an almost daily basis. I was giving myself a pep talk that everything would be okay, but I am not sure I was convincing.
From behind me, I heard a voice say, “Ma’am, would it be ok if I fixed your collar?”
I said, “Sure. Thank you.”
I thought to myself, that person did not have to reach and help me. But he did. A visible reminder that there are nice people on campus.
On another occasion, I was carrying a big box to my office and a random student asked if he could carry the box for me. I told him where I was headed and even though I am pretty sure it was out of his way, he helped me. Another visible reminder.
Every day, people hold open the door for me, smile and say hi. No big deal, right? Wrong! Those random acts of kindness that brightened those days for me happen to others every day on campus and it makes the world a better place for each of us.
These random acts of kindness are symbols of the GCU culture in action. Culture is defined as the manifestation of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively. Together we build that achievement in the way we treat each other, the artifacts we create and the experiences that we share.
We cannot just talk about learning, leading, loving and serving. God calls us to action. He calls us to demonstrate our values in small, simple ways that cumulatively forge the magnificent heart of our campus. It is impossible to know all of the burdens, large and small, that others carry with them. It is impossible to know who so desperately needs that smile, compliment or help to get through the day. But it is possible to make visible our GCU culture.
Kindness need not be expensive or flashy. Kindness is most powerful when shared with others at times they least expect it.
How have you encouraged, supported or motivated someone lately? How do you demonstrate the GCU culture in action?
May 2017 bring you moments when you can open the door, smile, carry a box or fix someone’s collar. May 2017 surround you with random acts of kindness.
Grand Canyon University offers a campus experience and community unlike any other. Learn more by visiting our website or contacting us using the Request More Information button at the top of the page.
More About Dr. Johnson:
With over 35 years of experience in education, Jennifer Johnson, EdD, currently serves as the executive director of Support Our SchoolsAZ, a statewide, grassroots parent advocacy organization, as well as director of academic alliances at Grand Canyon University. Dr. Johnson retired from the Arizona Department of Education in May 2015, where she served as deputy superintendent of policy and programs. Prior to joining the Arizona Department of Education, Dr. Johnson served as a teacher, high school principal and superintendent in Glendale, Arizona.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.