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Coding with Kindness

Coding with Kindness

To BE Kind

We are officially at the halfway point for the 10 x 10 challenge. It is on this day that I’m finding that this process is starting to compound emotionally. While building Coding with Thoughtfulness yesterday I found myself getting a bit overwhelmed at times thinking about the wonderful people and experiences that inspired that program or that came to mind while writing it. However today became a turning point in the practice of meditation through code as Coding with Kindness began to unfold on my computer screen.

It was only a few years ago that I learned about what kindness really is. As most of us do, for the better part of my life, I equated being kind with not being mean. That oversimplification of the word stripped it of all of the intensity, power, and impact it truly had. To be kind is an action in it’s own right and is not always demonstrated in the same way. At times it can require us to be tender, vulnerable, and caring -- other times it can require us to be brave, loud, and strong. However, in whatever way one performs kindness, it is always with great intentionality.

'Char'-ing for Yourself

Two nights ago I had the pleasure of discussing what it means to be kind with Karla Cordero. Karla is the COO of Squaring the Education Pyramid Institute which is an organization that works to create products that support the nurturing of literacy, art, and learning in children. After talking for a few minutes, Karla began to help me brainstorm ideas for what it could look like to code with kindness. What we came up with in the end was an app that provides a daily affirmation that the user can meditate on for five minutes. Typically, we think of kindness as something that we do for others, however Karla noted that it’s important for us to remember to be kind to ourselves as well, therefore, these affirmations would focus on practicing kindness towards oneself.

Writing the code for this program gave me such a warm feeling. As a software developer, I’ve written countless programs with data structures for customers, locations, users, etc. At some point it all starts to feel like a different version of the same thing. But as I began to create a small data structure called ‘affirmations’, something about it made the implementation process feel so much softer. While laying out my array of affirmation objects I began to wonder about the strings of text that would fill them. I was thinking about the user that would face that data point in the UI and how it would be so much more than a character array -- it would be a prompt for pause, resolve, reflection, and healing.

Affirmations as Data

It was at this same moment that Karla messaged me a bundleIQ link with seven beautifully written affirmations for the app. Instantly, I felt a wash of emotion reading through each one -- so carefully worded -- focused but open-ended. Affirmations as data meant that as I wrote every line of code I was reflecting on these powerful statements and everything these words elicited for me. Meditating through code took on its most literal manifestation while building Coding with Kindness and it's an experience that I am very grateful for.

I hope that those who use this program find it as meaningful and impactful as I did as my fingers tapped away at the keyboard to create its form. For those who would like to read more about intentional kindness, Karla is sharing her introspection on this as part of our writing challenge and I encourage everyone to read it. Looking forward to the next five programs, special collaborations, and coding meditations that will come as we go into the second half of this experiment.

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I am getting such joy reading your daily posts, exploring your code, and thinking of you coding with such intent. I hope we can bring some of this happiness into coding with our students in the upcoming cohort!

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