Raising Kind Humans
If you know me at all, you know my favorite saying is “I speak my mind because it hurts to bite my tongue”. But I think most of you would agree, I’m not nasty about what I say or how I say it. Most (yes, most) of the time, it’s meticulously well thought out with very few regrets. I truly believe you can have a strong personality, stand up for what you believe in, and be a kind person at the same time.
We live in a world of double standards, disappointing two faced people, jealousy and fake it till you make it mentality. We all grow up, get married and have children. The circle of life continues. We are all reflections of how we were raised. So what are your kids going to pass to theirs?
Life is definitely not simple. It has taught me a ton, the last few years. Having two girls has reminded me that no matter your age, your still going to run across similar issues you had as a child. Hear me out...
Those snotty girls on the playground who look at you funny, don’t like you for any reason, talk behind your back, or are just straight up mean, are still out there! Your ride or die friends you thought you would travel through life with, all of a sudden disappear. Where did it all go wrong?! All these types of people and feelings are still out there and they occur at every age.
A study showed that 80% of youth, say their parents care more about their achievements and happiness, rather than if they are being kind. Think about how incredible the world would be, if it were the opposite?!
Who said you can’t have it all?!
Here’s my theory...
K I N D humans build strong characters. S T R O N G characters strive to do well in school and sports. D O I N G W E L L builds confidence. C O N F I D E N C E motivates to be the best they can be, in anything they do. Being one of the best is the definition of A C H I E V E M E N T. Oh...and who wouldn’t be H A P P Y with all of that?!
Kindness is a teachable virtue, but you have to make it a high priority. If you sat down with my kids, their teachers, my family, or our close friends, they would tell you that our number one priority for our girls...is for them to be kind. We use the language of kindness in our family on a daily basis.
“That was a very kind thing to do ”
“Thank you for being so kind to your sister”
“Can you use kinder words to say that?”
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not perfect (nor are my kids) and we make mistakes all...the...time (pride swallowed). I’ve had to apologize to my girls quite a few times for NOT saying kind things to them out of anger. It’s a humbling but a perfect lesson at the same time.
Every teacher conference my girls have had, the educator has heard my husband and I say that getting good grades is of course wonderful. However our number one priority is that they are a kind human being. My kids don’t get paid for grades, nor do they get in trouble for bad ones. Don’t get me wrong, we do celebrate the successes...mainly with our family tradition of the Red Special Plate! As for the bad grades, the girls beat themselves up enough. We simply say “you must not have understood the material like you thought. Let’s study more next time”.
Most dinner conversations or car rides home from school, consist of asking what they did that was kind today. I’m not going to lie, when we first started (years ago) it was difficult for them to understand what kindness really was. So the answers we would get were pretty shallow (ie: I gave my friend a chip). Then they got the hang of it, once my husband and I joined in too. Now we hear things like:
- I stuck up for a girl at school when someone was making fun of her.
- I asked a girl who was sitting by herself to join our group.
- I gave my friend a hug today because she seemed really sad.
- I asked my friend how she was feeling today, since she was out sick yesterday.
I read an article a while ago, that stated children develop character by what they see, what they hear and what they repeatedly do. Practice is the most important part.
There is one kind tradition we have in our family, that happens in Palm Springs, a few times a year. We are creatures of habit, so we like to eat at the same restaurants every time we visit. I think we even eat the same thing too. The girls purposely only eat half their meal and save the left overs, in a to-go container. We then walk around, until they find someone in need, to give it to. The look on the girls faces, is indescribable as they hand the meal over. Pure joy!!
Kindness is contagious!! It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the kid comparison. Her child just won an award, her daughter dresses so cute, her son is great at sports, her daughter gets more attention than mine. Social Media has flared our mind to become even more jealous. We need to remind our kids (and ourselves) the importance of kindness. Comment and like those pictures on social media. Compliment others achievements online AND in person. Making people feel good, feels good too! Don’t forget….your children are always watching, listening (even when you don’t think they are) and soaking in all that you do.
We are all in the same boat, when it comes to raising kids. There isn’t a manual to this incredibly hard job. But if my theory is right, all you have to do is B E K I N D and everything else will fall into place.
Let's learn from each other...How do you teach kindness in your home??? (Comment below)