by Tessa Lloyd, counsellor
Who wants to be gentle these days? If we look for role models in the media who practice this virtue, they are few and far between. There aren’t too many people who are publically recognised or rewarded for being gentle. Is it a lost art? Of course not. We are practising it all the time in our homes, and in our families. It just doesn’t get much attention.
This month gentleness is in the spotlight here at the Junior School. We are trying to bring out the best in our children by modelling, supporting, and reinforcing the practice of gentleness.
Is it possible to be gentle and strong? Indeed it is. Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop of Geneva in the 1600s wrote, “Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.”
Gentleness is acting and speaking in a way that is considerate and kind to others. It means taking care and thinking through your words and actions. You can be gentle with people and animals in the way you speak to them and the way you touch them. If you are gentle, you leave no fingerprints or bruises on their brains or bodies. Being gentle with things means you will not hurt them in any way.
Why should we practice gentleness? Many things are fragile, but feelings are the most fragile and delicate of all. When you handle things gently, feelings are protected and no one is hurt. When you think gentle thoughts and act gently in your relationships, you feel better about yourself and more at peace.
It requires thought and self-restraint to be gentle. It means deciding that you want to be a gentle person and then always acting in accordance with that principle.
“Only the weak are cruel. Gentleness can only be expected from the strong.”