Mount Tamalpais School

Dude. Be Kind.


Good morning, and Happy New Year, Mount Tamalpais School. This morning I want to return to the values listed in our Mission Statement.

When we started the year, I talked with you all about self-reliance. I told you the story of my experience on the Mud Pond Portage in Maine. In the woods of Maine, I learned to rely on myself. In doing so, I opened up another ten days of adventure. When we are able to rely on ourselves, so much more is available to us in the world.

Later in the fall, I shared the funny expression, “Never wear dirty underwear” to explain the meaning of integrity. Integrity, another value listed in our mission statement, is doing the right thing, even when no one else is looking.

Just last week, as we were returning home from Tahoe, my wife and I both chuckled when we saw a bumper sticker. It read: “Dude. Be Kind.” As we drove on in the rain, I thought quite a bit about those three words. Why did I like it so much?

The first reason is that it is a great example of something that you will learn about in middle school English – 6th, 7th, and 8th graders, pay attention now – called juxtaposition. Juxtaposition is when you put two words, phrases, or sentences together that seem to be in contrast. “Dude” represents being cool. Every time I say it, I want to tip my head back a bit and elongate the “u” sound. Duuuude. “Be kind” represents just that – kindness and goodness. It seems quite different than the cool factor of “dude.”


Lower school learning specialist Heather, hugs 5th grade students

As I continued along Highway 80, though, I began to see the wisdom of that bumper sticker. In putting “dude” and “be kind” together, the phrase teaches us an important lesson. The sooner you learn this lesson, the better. “Dude. Be Kind.” tells us that it is cool to be kind; while they seem to be in contrast, they are actually quite related. The sooner you can learn that being cool is being kind, the better off you are. 8th graders, you only have six more months to learn this important lesson. Kindergarteners, if you truly get – and don’t forget – “Dude. Be Kind.” you will have a wonderful nine years here at Mount Tamalpais School.

One of the wonderful things about being at a school is that we have two starts to the year. Our school year kicked off at the end of August. And now, in January, we start 2019. It is my hope that in 2019, we can all live these three simple words, Dude. Be Kind. If we do that, 2019 will be the best year ever at Mount Tamalpais School.

As you head back to your homerooms and first period, I leave you one last time with the wisdom of Highway 80, “Dude. Be Kind.” Thank you.

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