“Wherever there is a human being there is an opportunity for kindness.”
Most of our injuries come from other humans just like us. “Hurt people, hurt people” as we hear in AA. And these are plenty of hurt people. We can stop this cycle with kindness.
Why do we have “How to” books and articles about every human condition imaginable? You can Google any situation to find instant solutions or advice from so called self-appointed experts. And yet so many of our problems could be solved with kindness. As a single parent you are in the position to raise kind children.
How do you teach your children to live in harmony with other human critters? How can you train them to be nice?
Prior to age four children should be taught simple manners. To say, “excuse me,” “please,” and “I’m sorry.” Around age four or five children who have been taught to have empathy for others begin to demonstrate a more personal and sometimes genuine compassion for others. To get there, however, parents must demonstrate empathy and kindness for children to catch-on. An insightful article, “Ages and Stages: Empathy” explaining this can be found on the Scholastic site.
I recall my first experience with empathy. My cousin, Kay, had taken me to a movie. In the movie a circus parade was coming into town. Emmett Kelly, a famous clown, was riding on one of the cars. He was playing and showing off with a deck of cards when he lost control and flipped all the cards onto the street below. He began to cry as only Emmett Kelly could do with his sad clown face. And so did I. All the on lookers watching the parade laughed. Everyone in the movie theater was laughing. Not me. I was so upset Kay had to take me home missing the remainder of the movie. I didn’t get the humor, but I certainly had empathy. Probably, at least in part, because my tenderhearted mother had taught me to think about how the other person felt. And to be kind.
Situations in which it is most difficult to be kind may be the ones when kindness is most needed. I like what the Dalai Lama said, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”
Our world seems to be overrun with hate, anger, and a lack of conscious. We must teach our children what some of us have yet to learn. Christ’s message was powerful, yet simple-love each other. Be kind.
Colin Powell put it this way, “Kindness is not just about being nice; it’s about recognizing another human being who deserves care and respect.”
I’ve not always been kind. I so wish, at this stage in life, that I had. I have a refrigerator magnet to remind me.
“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” –Henry James 1843-1916