Middle School students heard from alumnus and Board of Trustees member Roland Yang ’10 in December as part of a speaker series on kindness. Yang discussed shared examples of how kindness and vulnerability transformed his relationships and his time at Haverford.
With English being his third language and still getting accustomed to school in the United States, Yang wasn’t always confident when he started at Haverford in sixth grade. Through teams, clubs, and Peer Counseling, Yang found comfort with his peers and mentors.
“Peer Counseling is a safe space with no judgement,” said Yang. “I found it to be a place for me to talk about myself without fear and without worrying what someone was going to think of me.”
Once he had found the ability to be vulnerable with others, he was able to grow in confidence, and learned to extend the same kindness to others at Haverford. Yang shared a story about a classmate who was in need of someone to listen to him, and while he and Yang were not close friends, he called Yang on a Saturday night because the boy knew Yang would offer kindness.
“Kindness and vulnerability often go hand in hand,” said Yang. “It’s hard to be vulnerable when someone isn’t listening to you, or when you think they don’t care about you. It’s much easier to be vulnerable when you know the other person is kind, and that they have good intentions, and are generous with their time.”
Yang finished his talk by challenging the Middle School boys to see vulnerability and kindness as strengths.
“Being vulnerable is not a weakness,” said Yang. “Instead, it shows that you have doubts, worries, and insecurities and sharing those things with people you trust is a powerful thing. Kindness is key to making others feel comfortable. When we combine vulnerability and kindness, we often get results that may surprise you.”