What if I told you that the key to kindness is not just about what we put out into the world, but also about what we give ourselves? Let me elaborate.
As a mom, one of the main things I want to teach my children is for them to be caring and loving human beings. I truly believe that kindness is the root of achieving happiness in one’s life.
There are many ways as parents in which we can share this valuable lesson with our kids. We can demonstrate in the way we treat each other as a family, how we interact with friends and the community as a whole. Leading by example is a very powerful way to help our children learn about kindness since it really doesn’t require putting it into words to understand, especially when the child is younger than school-age.
As kids get older, parents can use other methods to help them learn about being kind. Simple gestures can make a big impact on children grasping the concept of how a little kindness can go a long way. Encouraging them to befriend a lonely classmate, selecting outgrown clothes and toys to donate, or even sharing with siblings are all examples I’ve utilized to teach my son and daughter about being caring and compassionate individuals.
It all comes down to having the conversation with my children about treating others the way they would want to be treated, which is something I’ve referenced often as various life examples pop up and I see them as a good teaching point for them.
My kids are still at a fairly young age where there is a natural tendency to behave selfishly and view daily situations as to how it affects only them and not regarding how it might affect others. This can be a normal stage in a younger child’s life, however, I think that during this stage it’s crucial to actively teach my children about kindness.
While teaching them how to treat others is very important, I also feel it is equally important to show my son and daughter that practicing care and compassion toward ourselves is really where any act of kindness should begin.
I’ve experienced firsthand the effect it has on others when someone struggles to love who they are. Self-criticism and self-doubt have taken a big role in my depression and I’ve seen how this affects my family. Feeling this way about myself leads to dark emotions like anger and sadness, which in turn results in being in a bad mood and inadvertently taking it out on the people I love.
Being on a journey of healing has prompted me to reflect quite a bit on this. How can I as a mother successfully teach my kids about kindness when I’m not compassionate with myself? In order to achieve this, I need to shine a light on the darkness within me, to rid myself of the negative and let in more of the positive. I need to learn to love myself again. By doing so I will show my son and daughter that when we love who we are we send love out into the world, just by simply being happy in our own existence.
When you think about it, this lesson is quite simple for children and adults to understand, especially when you consider it as a ripple effect: by loving ourselves and showing respect and care for others, ultimately kindness is shared and passed along.
Want to share a little kindness today? Start with yourself and send it outward. Happy World Kindness Day!