You’ve Got to be Kind

May 28, 2015

From Mr. Matthew Cavellier, Director of the Upper School 

I have several favorite authors, but the one I return to most often is Kurt Vonnegut. In fact, I am such a fan, I have a framed poster in my office that features his image and a quote from his novel, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater:

“Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you’ve got a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”

I could go on and on about how Vonnegut’s word choice is deliberately shocking in the context of the novel—after all, the character is speaking to twin babies at their baptism—but I won’t, because that is not the reason I have it hanging in my office. It’s hanging in my office to remind me that there is only one rule.

Each time a school year ends, it is important to pause, reflect, and look forward. When we do these things—when we shut out all the hullabaloo that accompanies these periods of transition—we take time to ground ourselves in our core values. Our mission is to transform all SSM students into “citizens of integrity in an ever-changing world” because we know that no matter the changes that occur, we will always need integrity.

And in order to have integrity, gosh darn it, “you’ve got to be kind.”


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