As an elementary school volunteer and the mother of two under ten, the subject of kindness come up a lot. It surfaces both in the classroom and at home and while each situation may differ, it is something we definitely need to take a closer look at in this day and age of bullying, online comments, and road rage.
I knew this subject was important years ago when I spoke to my mother who was a teacher for my whole life. She said kindness went out the window like someone flipped a switch off. One year it was there and the next it was gone.
Recently I listened to a podcast from The Purpose Show Episode 064- Teaching Kids Kindness with The Ruth Projectwhere she spoke on the subject of kindness. A lot of great topics came up in the conversation.
Here are a few thoughts on the subject of kindness:
- It shocked me last week when at our school’s fun run a mom seemed surprised that a student turned around and helped up another student who had fallen during one of their laps. Should this be a shocking thing that one person is nice to another? If so, why are we so surprised at behavior that we should be expecting from our untainted children?
- The Ruth Project happens to be a faith-based group. Their acts of kindness are inspired came about when the moms of the group decided to try to have a “different kind of Christmas” for their kids. This seems to be a common practice for people who are on the more religious side of things. Are religious people the only types of people who are teaching their kids the important of kindness? If so no wonder this mother was so surprised to see an act of kindness in a public school setting. We teach that people should be kind to one another during the school day but I guess it takes more backing from home to get this idea into kids’ heads.
- Modeling good behavior is one way to reinforce the kindness idea for your kids. I think a lot of parents forget how much their kids look up to them. They don’t realize that their playful banter sometimes can be redirected to their kids’ friends without understanding the difference between joking around and really meaning it. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not at all perfect at this. It can be hard to do as I say and not as I do.
- The idea of snarky attitudes came up in the conversation. I’ll be the first one to raise my hand to say that a good bit of snarky comments are funny from time to time. The problem with it when modeling snarky behavior in front of little ones is that they get the idea that having a laugh at the expense of another person is ok. Really it’s not. Really I should watch what I say in front of the kids. It definitely gave me a lot of food for thought.
- When someone does forget to be kind the concept of forced apologies entered the circle. While most people do agree that forced apologies have some purpose in a child’s life, there seems to be a consensus that while it may be forced it needs to be purposeful. One mom said that she has her kid say the person’s name and exactly what they are sorry for, while another mom talked about how the child should recognize the emotion on the other person’s face so that they can realize that their lack of kindness made a huge impact on the person.
What are your thoughts on kindness?
Do you think you can teach it without a biblical reference to help enforce the idea? Do you force your kids to apologize even if they might not mean it in the moment?
For more information on this podcast you can read the show notes here: http://alliecasazza.com/shownotes/064