This post offers ten teaching kindness tips. Kindness is a major path for strengthening children’s emotional fitness, but some say it is a lost art. Not so.
Watch the news and kindness does seem to be a lost art. Mean girls, Nasty boys, Me-ism, bullying, Cyber bullying, domestic violence, murders, mass murders. tyranny, wars where all is fair so children die.
Here is a link to a brief article posted on Kevin, MD’s blog. Kevin is one of my favorite internet doctors. He hosts many other doctors as guest bloggers. This one appeared first in the Physician and was written by Jordan Grumet.
I particularly liked this quote:
Am I any better? I have given myself a pass. I have used the nobility of a profession to deny the basic humility of grass-roots kindness. How many times have I refused a donation to some odd cause or another by thinking, “Haven’t I given enough?”
Yet there is a strange lightness of heart that comes from the unrequired act of selflessness.
PARENTING THOUGHTS ABOUT TEACHING KINDNESS
Parents are the first purveyors of kindness. For about ten years, they have the power to influence. However, parental power steadily diminishes when children move into the world around them. By the time the teens are being entered, the layers of surrounding influence dominate. When those influences do not support sharing, caring, and kindness, cruelty becomes the norm.
Those surrounding layers include the extended family, peer groups, the neighborhood, school, class, media, and finally, the national culture. The more each layer agrees about a value, the more power that value gains over all individuals. Sadly, far too many of the surrounding layers found in western culture, particularly as driven by the media, do not value kindness. Happiness has supplanted the Golden Rule, or so it seems.
But there is some hope, for as Grumet notes, “Yet there is a strange lightness of heart that comes from the unrequired act of selflessness.”
That lightness of heart of heart can be nurtured and strengthen by all who care about a child.
TEN PARENT TIPS FOR TEACHING KINDNESS
Tip one: As always you must live the values, you want your child to live. So be kind, be kind, be kind.
Tip two: As soon as your child becomes mobile, supervise and squelch any acts of cruelty. Children need to be taught not to hurt. They cannot obey a rule they do not yet understand.
Hurting others in the very young is either accidental or a power play to get their own way. Accidental hurts, need stopping with the brief explanation. “That hurts, stop.”
Power plays leading to hitting, pushing, or otherwise hurting another living being if not stopped instantly with the words “Stop hurting” need to be punished. Time outs are the proper punishments at this age.
As a child moves toward the teen years replace the time out chair with thinking it over time somewhere quiet and then making an amends to the victim.
Tip three: Manners are kindness formalized. Teach good manners and start early. You want the words please, thank you embedded in your child’s brain. And just as important you want consideration of others to be a strong habit before first grade.
Tip four: Catch and praise every act of kindness.
Tip five: Make your practice of giving to charities visible to your child. Many stores now have charity boxes. Start the little ones feeding those boxes. Expect the teens to do the same. Have your kids participate donations you make to Good Will, the Salvation Army, Toys for Tots or other charities.
Tip six: If you tithe, tithe your kids allowance and have them decide where their tithes go.
Tip seven: Volunteer as a family at the charity of your choice.
Tip eight: Actively share a kindness philosophy. “But for the grace,” “All God’s children,” “Sharing our luck.” “Caring is sharing,”
Tip nine: Use the media to talk about kind behavior versus cruel behavior including global injustice.
Tip ten: Actively promote global justice and let your child know what and how you work towards peace on earth for all.
Cruelty is part of human nature or there would have been peace on earth since the beginning of time. Still, every individual act of kindness matters. The receiver is nourished, but so is the giver.
P.S. Feeling like a wall flower once again. Oh, the pain of those long ago memories. Seems I am the only one attending my Facebook Birthday Party and Book launch. Many have liked the idea, so trying to cheering myself up with the belief that even if you did or do not sign up for the event, you will join me on Facebook on March 21. Still it would be an act of kindness to say you will drop by.