Lindsey drove 4 hours to come and meet me. We had never met, but had become friends solely through Facebook. Lindsey is a fellow educator, runner, and artist. As such, she can understand on a more visceral level what I am doing than almost anyone. I was honored by the fact that she would drive that far to meet a perfect stranger.

Lindsey wanted to experience what it is to be the peace artist. She wanted to draw, meet people, and run. But, she is already a pilgrim in her own right. She works with talented and gifted children, but what makes Lindsey’s approach to her occupation different, is that she treats EVERYONE as talented and gifted. Not only does she do this in school with the children but she also is that way with everyone she meets.

In her school Lindsey has arranged the T&G program in such a way that everyone in the school, all 600 students and all teachers, participate. In a sense they have elective ways to be exceptional. They have gardening, cooking, art, music, and many other directions for the children to choose to participate. The groups aren’t headed by the teachers, but rather by the students themselves. The 5th graders mentoring the kindergardeners, group leaders taking charge and delegating projects. In 5 years, those kindergardeners will be the project leaders, and will be able to become the mentors.

Lindsey has a way of valuing everyone she talks to in such a way that they immediately open up to her.  As such, she allows them to care for her and she for them. I was a recipient of her kindness. Lindsey thought about what she would like if she was running, and so she brought me nuts, bananas, peanut butter, granola bars, toothpaste, and new socks. Simple kindnesses from someone I had never even met.

It wasn’t just to me that Lindsey extended her kindness. A girl named Diamond watched us draw each other,  was enraptured by the event. When Diamond showed us her own work, Lindsey used hearty approbation and lavish praise to make Diamond’s day. We met another man with special needs, and Lindsey gave him some items as well. We met a woman Jackie, and Lindsey and her became fast friends just because of her genial nature.

Lindsey refreshed my spirits, despite running 9 miles in the wrong direction (the first time I’ve made that mistake in 5000 miles) and nearly dying of heat stroke, I felt as if I had not only met a kindred spirit, but I met a woman willing to be the peace in the world. A good example for us all.

 

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