Today, I saw a man coming back from a hike and do something incredible. He was crossing the street back into the suburban neighborhood when he scooped down, picked up a few pieces of trash in the planter on the sidewalk, and threw them in the trash can next to the bus stop. Then he just went about his day. Such a small act, a small blip in the list of activities he probably did that day, yet such a BIG impact it has for his community.
I think the most beautiful part about this act of kindness is that he didn’t do it to receive credit or praise. He didn’t do it because he was forced to or because he felt obligated to. He did it because it was a kind thing to do. I’m sure this man didn’t even notice as I watched him do it, or as I sung his praises to my children about how kind of a man he probably is. That kind of person is very rare to find these days sadly. So when I see kindness and thoughtfulness being shared with the world, I always turn it into a learning opportunity for my kids.
What can you teach your kids about kindness?
Kindness is free
It costs absolutely nothing to be a kind person, sometimes, not even time. There are so many kind acts that are absolutely free to give. A smile, encouraging words, greeting someone hello, telling someone to have a great day, a needed hug…the list goes on and on. Kindness can and should be given freely every day. It can change hearts and minds and can inspire others to spread kindness too.
Kindness makes you a better person
The more you are kind, the more choosing kindness becomes your default. It’s like the process of starting a new habit. Some researchers say that it takes 30 days to form a new habit. The more you practice being kind, the better at it you will be. Make it your new habit! Teaching your kids to do one kind thing every day will set them up for success of being a kind adult when they grow older.
Kindness can change someone’s life
Back when I was younger, I was taught that being kind to someone could change the course of someone’s life. As I kid I thought “yeah ok…sureee” and thought that adults were crazy. Then I grew up and was thrown all of the curve balls that life consistently throws at you. I learned about pain and heartbreak, disappointment and embarrassment, I learned all of the stressful emotions that come along with being an adult. As a person who has struggled with depression for the last ten years, I didn’t realize how big of an impact ordinary kind deeds can have on someone’s life. By showing others kindness, we could literally be changing or even saving their life. We don’t know how other people live their lives or what they are going through. We can help make it better by being kind though.
As cliché as it sounds, kindness can change the world. We change the world by changing lives, and we change lives by being kind. Imagine a world without pain, embarrassment, or anger. Now imagine that a world like that is actually possible. It starts with us, parents. Teach our children so they can teach their children, and so on and so on until the generation of kindness and world changers is born.
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