We begin the second week of the Omer today, thinking about the idea of gevurah, or "power" and "strictness", and we start with chesed, the element of kindness and compassion in the realm of strictness.
While these ideas form the ends of a spectrum - often described at each end as mercy and justice - caring and rigidity are intertwined as well. We aim to begin every act of power, every assertion of will, with an understanding that it should be for a greater good, a vision that includes kindness.
As a teacher and a parent I often err on the side of a stricter voice, even though I know that I must lead with compassion and caring. When I keep that kinder tone in the center, the firmness needed comes across all the better.