LEAven Blog


The Power of a Smile and the Art of Relational Kindness

I sit in my office very early each morning. It is my time to be alone and to properly prepare for my day. I have opened my Bible and my prayer journal, which informs every waking moment. My prayer kneeling pad hangs at the ready on the back of my door. My ToDo (pronounced “todo”) list is prayed over. And then…I begin to hear voices. It is my teammates! This beautiful group of people stream into our school, a little at a time, and my smile grows wider and my joy becomes greater as the language arts teacher and the assistant principal individually stop in just to say, “Good morning.” I am delighted. They seem to be, as well.

It is almost time for students to arrive, but staff devotions come first—the most important part of the day for all of us who serve together. It consists of a devotional, Scripture, prayer, and then light announcements that at times include words of warmth, laughter, and a simple blessing by me to send us off together to share relational kindness to each other and to the students.


Cars pull up and the team, clad in yellow safety vests and each with a radio so we can communicate with each other – carefully assists each child to the door. This is done in a way that shows those dropping off their children that we care:

  • That smile
  • Directing to the crosswalk
  • A pat on the back or a high-five
  • Picking a child up and out of the vehicle, grabbing the backpack and water bottle from the parent, and properly placing these with the little one
  • Sharing a word or a big wave as the parent departs
  • Calling on the radio and asking for the classroom teacher to come out to assist with tears
  • Being upbeat, sharing the phrase “Blessings to you!” as the parent drives off
  • And one last time on the radio, “Zion staff members – the students are all here! Have a beautiful day with them. I know you will.”

As workers in the church, through our school settings and our most important vocations, let us take heart and take in the gift that Paul gives us in Colossians 3:12:

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

We are chosen! We are His people! We are holy! And…we are dearly loved. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, instruction is given. No matter how difficult our day might seem, allow the Lord to equip us with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. This is not always easy, but if we remember what God did for us in sending His only Son Jesus Christ to the cross, there is just no question about how He desires us to serve. May we all prepare ourselves to bless others in any way we can, but especially with our smiles and relational encounters, doing so with the love of Jesus.

Thomas Wrege is an educator and principal, with 36 years in Lutheran school leadership. He has a desire to further the kingdom of God by providing rich resources that engage others to further their mission of sharing Jesus Christ throughout the world. He loves to be innovative and to collaborate with others in ministry.

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