Frank at Frank @ Beach Walk Reflections recently wrote a post about Good.  You can read it here:  It’s important, and it made me think.  Frank’s posts always make me think.  I immediately replied, “Goodness is the root of humanity”, and this has been on my mind.

Goodness and good are slightly different.  Goodness is the ‘state of being good’.

Doing something good is where it starts, goodness is when it sticks.  Bingo!

Is goodness the root of humanity?  You bet!  It takes many good deeds to create goodness.  As a teacher, I do good things.  Every teacher does good things, yet s/he should aspire to make those good things stick – give children goodness.

I do that – especially by reading aloud.

When you read aloud to a child you are educating their heart, giving them the seeds of goodness.  After all, it takes far more than knowledge to become a good citizen.  The givers and the doers, the mothers and fathers, teachers and leaders and workers all have a commonality.  That begins with words, language, and stories.  Good books impart everything from discovering the world, to the subtleties of making choices and decisions, with words woven carefully through characters.  The point is, hearing a multitude of different stories is building one’s self.  Books and stories show you the way.

Perhaps John Phillips, founder and benefactor of the renowned school Phillips Exeter Academy, said it best of all more than two centuries ago:

“Goodness without knowledge is weak and feeble, yet knowledge without goodness is dangerous, and both united form the noblest character and lay the surest foundation of usefulness to mankind.”

Educate the mind and also the heart.  Read aloud.  Make a difference.  Grow a reader, and you grow goodness.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
This entry was posted in Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Inspiration, reading aloud, teaching and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to Goodness

  1. A wonderful post and I’m so happy to play a small role in this post. The Phillips quote is outstanding. I salute the good you modeled and accomplished as a teacher.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you so much, Frank! Your inspiration fueled the post. That’s a good thing…keep up the good work, as you’re creating goodness.

      I love that John Phillips quote! Our son went to Exeter, and that quote is branded in my brain and heart. Here’s to teachers (that’s you, too) everywhere!

  2. Ritu says:

    A wonderful philosophy, and one I aspire to continue to teach 🙏🏼💜

  3. beth says:

    Yes, goodness lasts and wins

  4. An excellent argument for the importance of the humanities in secondary and higher education as well!

  5. quiall says:

    How beautifully said my friend! And foundations help buildings to grow strong.

  6. beetleypete says:

    I was brought up to ‘Do the right thing’, which I suppose became my version of Goodness. My mum used to add the old saying, “If you can’t do anything good, do nothing”. I think she made that one up to be honest. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Jennie says:

      I was brought up the same way, Pete. My mother would say, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” I think we’re goodness stock. 🙂

  7. Well, this sent me down a rabbit hole of research for the last hour. I went to visit your friend, Frank first then checked out John Phillips and Exeter Academy. My goodness, that was fascinating. I guess all I really know is that I learned a lot about goodness from reading. It wasn’t modeled for me anywhere and certainly not in the minimal basic education we received. I think the more I read to my children, the more I learned. We all won.

    • Jennie says:

      My goodness! Marlene, I wish I had been a fly on the wall when you read about Frank, and most importantly when you read about John Phillips. Our son went to Exeter, and that statement has been cemented in my brain and heart since then. See, you learned a lot about goodness from reading, and I think that’s where the bulk of it comes from. Teachers who read books to their class spread that message like wildfire, because it isn’t modeled everywhere.

      Did I ever tell you that I was at a Christmas party many years ago, right after Jim Trelease had visited my classroom, and I was talking about reading aloud to the head of the English Department at Lawrence Academy, a prep school in town? She reads aloud to her high school seniors. She turns out the lights and has them put their heads on their desks. It’s just like I do at chapter reading at rest time. We both do the same thing!

      • You do travel in different circles, Jennie. I read that your son went to Exeter which is why I looked it up. Reading aloud is not something most of us experience but it needs to be. My daughter and I read things to each other in the course of a day. Our morning lesson starts our day. She reads to me. 😉

      • Jennie says:

        I think that is wonderful that you and your daughter read to each other each day. Really! Don’t let prep schools make you think any differently about me. New England has so many, it’s pretty common. I’m definitely down to earth. 🙂

      • Oh, I know how down to earth you are. They are kind of a thing in Portland too. My niece of the heart was sent to St. Mary’s Academy for prep school. She is Jewish. 😉 It helped her get into a good college though I think in her heart, she’s an artist and person who just wants to help others. Such a disappointment to her lawyer mother. My sister was the one who brought balance into her life. But the more you learn the greater your options in life.

      • Jennie says:

        I wish everyone had your perspective on life and people. It’s a bittersweet story about your niece if the heart. Yes, the more you learn, the more options you have in life.

  8. joylennick says:

    You are a gem, Jennie! It seems so simple and helpful to be kind, My own parents were excellent role models, but sadly, there are too many people with selfish agendas slowing the path. From parking their cars across two-car spaces (common!), neglecting their children (more than you think) and even too ignorant to pass the time of day with their neighbours. Thank goodness for the Jennies of the world and the many people who really do care. A very Happy New Year. Hugs x

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Joy! The smallest gesture, even a smile, can make a difference. Sadly, all those people with selfish agendas make a difference, too. They’re too busy to stop and think. The message this sends to their children is scary. Aesop said, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” This is my motto, and I wish everyone embraced it. Happy New Year and hugs to you, Joy!

  9. Jim Borden says:

    I love how you have found your calling – spreading the word about the power of reading out loud. I’d put kindness right up there with goodness – or is it the same thing?

  10. petespringerauthor says:

    I like the distinction between good and goodness. The way you’ve articulated their difference makes sense. A well-written book with or without illustrations opens the world of imagination to children.

  11. cindy knoke says:

    Your goodness shines! Happy New Year Jennie!

  12. bosssybabe says:

    What a wholesome and wonderful message – love it! Thanks so much for sharing and being a positive light in this world! 💓

  13. Dan Antion says:

    This is why you should teach, Jennie.

  14. This is a wonderful post, Jennie! Those are great goals too thanks for being you and showing us the way! 😀

  15. Quite outstanding! With knowledge, i will do good henceforth. Thanks for this really. Imma have to now get more from your blog.

  16. dgkaye says:

    That’s what you do Jennie, educate children’s minds and hearts. ❤

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