Want to change the world with kindness? Don’t forget your kids…
It’s amazing that we all want to change the world. Standing in someone else’s shoes and making a difference to the food bank or to a child in need in a far-flung country is absolutely what we should be doing. But in the busyness of life coupled with our desire to change the whole big wide world, we sometimes forget that our family, our children, those that live in our home are our first kindness projects.
We need to see our children as our most important tool to make a better world. We can really impact the world by ensuring our children are taught kindness. Teaching kindness to our children involves them seeing how they are treated by parents and how we treat ourselves. They learn empathy, compassion, generosity, fairness and kindness from us, as parents.
There is a serious issue in today’s world where we rush around doing so much and forget about our own kids. These kids are a blessing from God and they were put in our care to train them up. The greatest way to teach anyone anything is through being an example.
In Jamil Zaki’s book ‘The War for Kindness’ he concludes that empathy can be learnt and one needs empathy to be kind. I live with an illness called Sickle Cell, which growing up caused me lots of pain. Because I was ill, extra effort was made by those around me to be kind to me. I think that having so much kindness directed toward me from firstly my parents, helped my kindness muscles grow. One doesn’t have to be sick to grow kindness muscles but my point is kindness can be learnt.
It therefore is important to teach children kindness through modelling kindness. Some suggestions are:
1. Letting them off the hook: When they have done something wrong once in a while. It is important that you explain what they have done wrong but that you are wanting to be kind to them. You want to show grace and mercy.
2. Giving lots of hugs and kisses: This sounds like a no-brainer, but in the busyness of life, taking the time to be affectionate can be missed. Affection, physical touch is important for children’s development but it also offers an example of how they should react to others.
3. Time: Giving kids your time makes them feel special. Taking time to ask them how they are doing and listening carefully to their response is important.
4. Doing something special for them: Maybe you can make a special breakfast for them and offer breakfast in bed?
5. Giving yourself a break: Not shouting at yourself when you have burnt the dinner or get something wrong. Mistakes happen and you are not a superhuman. Using your words to say you just burnt the dinner but everything will be okay, shows your kids that you are being kind to yourself. They will then learn to be kind to themselves.
Modelling kindness is one of the best ways to teach our children kindness and change the world at the same time.