Central Theme of ‘Wonder’ Is Daily Affirmation at CMDS

CMDS 3rd Graders took a field trip to see a private showing of the movie “Wonder,” based on best-selling author R.J. Palacio’s novel. The story of “Wonder” ties into Christ Methodist Day School’s “Choose Kindness” theme.

The field trip prompted a character-building discussion back at school. Third graders performed skits in which they highlighted the importance of being an “upstander” rather than a bystander when seeing friends who are not choosing kindness.

Students also created their own “Wonder” book cover image. All students rotated to each person’s book cover, filling the outline with uplifting words that describe the best qualities of each student.

This was a wonderful team building experience, and started courageous conversations about what it means to “choose kind.”

More on ‘Wonder’ from Dr. Williams

“Wonder” has garnered much critical acclaim for the message it shares about friendship, empathy and kindness. Its central theme is a great example of something that you hear on a constant basis at CMDS: the message to “Choose Kindness.”

CMDS Head of School Dr. Bryan Williams

CMDS Head of School Dr. Bryan Williams

Each day our students hear this message of “choosing kindness” through our morning announcements, signs posted around school and the consistent reminding by our teachers and staff.

We always seek to be a school that shows the love and kindness of Jesus Christ to all whom we come in contact with. It is part of our school’s mission to help students develop spiritually, be socially responsible and have personal integrity. I ask our children each day though the morning announcements to find someone that needs a friend or encourager and to be that for them.

“Wonder” provides an excellent real life example of choosing kindness as the viewer witnesses the life of August “Auggie” Pullman, a boy who suffers from a rare facial deformity. The movie follows Auggie through his 5th grade year and the issues he faces due to his facial differences. The viewer sees how he is treated and how other students begin to show empathy for him and become his friend.

If you haven’t seen the movie, try to find some time over the holiday break to do so with your family. Or better yet, read the book together as a family!

Here is a great discussion guide from Facing History and Ourselves that can help you facilitate your own family discussion. I hope it will provide a great opportunity for your family to discuss ways you can choose kindness at home.


Christ Methodist Day School opened its doors in 1958 to 75 kindergarten students. Since then, CMDS has stayed true to its Christian elementary school roots while continuing to thrive as one of the best private schools in Memphis. Come see why we are the primary choice for so many Memphis families.


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