When you’re kind, you win.

Why It’s okay to teach the word snarky.

In a recent classroom counseling lesson, I introduced the 4th graders to the word snarky. It might seem pretty counterproductive for a school counselor to teach them a word that means sarcastic, rude, and basically down right mean.

But for some reason, around this time of year a lot of them get snarky. I think some of it has to do with that itchiness to move on to the next phase of their lives. You see, in my school district our 4th graders move on to a new building after this year. So, it’s kind of like they start testing the boundaries a little more with each other and with authority. Not overtly, but rather in a sneaky undermining kind of way.

You know, snarky.

I even go so far as to ask them what their end game is by being snarky to one another and/or being disrespectful to adults.

I get blank stares, because they have no idea what end game means. I further explain to them that I want them to tell me what they hope to accomplish by being snarky. What is their goal? What do they want to get out of being mean and rude?

It then starts to sink in. They might be 9–10 years old, but they are more intuitive than we adults give them credit for. When they shake their heads in an “oh, I get what you’re saying” kind of way, I have them right where I want them.

It’s time to go for the jugular. I talk about kindness and the end game associated with it. We discuss how being kind makes the other person feel and also how it makes them feel when they are being kind.

It feels a whole lot better being kind to someone. You kind of get the rush of a warm, snuggly kind of feeling. In contrast, being snarky makes you feel…well, it makes you feel like crap, “icky” if you will.

It’s funny, though. When I’m teaching lessons to elementary students, I often think about how beneficial these same lessons would be for adults. Because when you think about it, we adults are modeling for our young people. What they witness, they often mimic. Unfortunately, they are seeing a whole lot of negative in the world today from various avenues.

But we have to continue to fight the good fight. Fight snarky with kindness.

Eventually, kindness will win.

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