Kindness is a human emotion, that we can all embrace and nurture in a family setting. Kindness is FREE and its presence in our everyday life can send positive waves all through the lives of those around us.
Pause for a moment……
Think about someone from your childhood that you specifically remember as being kind. If it is difficult to think of someone from your past that showed kindness, then try to think of a public figure that you respect for their acts of kindness in their life.
Ask yourself, why did I remember them as being kind?
How did they go about doing acts of kindness?
Kindness is a gift that can be expressed in so many different ways. As parents we can be kind with our time towards the children and to others. We can show this kindness by listening carefully to what they say, looking at them in the eyes when they speak, leaning in towards them to listen and show that we are interested. This can be a very effective way of showing children that we are being kind with our time.
We can show kindness by offering to help others who may need some assistance in our neighbourhood. A neighbour may be unwell and cannot get out to do their shopping, an older person may have a struggle with getting shopping into the car boot. Unexpected acts of kindness can lift a person’s spirits, it sends powerful signals of positivity to the children who might be with us and it is the most underrated act of human change.
Children will love to help out with being kind too. If there is shopping needed to be purchased for a neighbour who is unwell, bring your children with you when doing that shopping trip, where possible. Tell them why you are shopping for a sick neighbour. This will have long lasting memory for your children, it will be something that they carry into their own lives and the lives of others around them.
When we offer our time and our assistance to others it has a dual positive effect on both ourselves and that of the person we have helped. The time we spend on the act of kindness will never be wasted, it will be remembered but should not be offered with expectation of return. Otherwise the process changes to being one of exchange or barter.
Sometimes kindness may not feel like something that can be easily achieved, as if there are days when it takes more effort to be kind. Or life presents challenges that make kindness a lot harder to achieve. These are days when it is worth thinking about that kind person from our childhood memory. Maybe look back at what was written about them in the Pause and Reflect piece at start of this article. Ask ourselves, what would they have done on a day like this? What would they do in a situation like this? Recapping on these childhood memories can help to bring the mind back to how positively their acts of kindness had nurtured happiness in your childhood memories.
Top Tips for Showing Kindness as Parents:
Kindness is infectious. By modelling kind behavior for your children, it will be something that they carry into their own lives and the lives of others around them.
- Listen and show interest in what your children are saying.
- Give time and compassion for your children are hurt.
- Give genuine compliments to others.
- Offer help to others
- Say “Thank You”
- Consider others’ feelings when making decisions.
- Just Smile more.
- Be kind in how we speak to others and the language we use.
- Be kind to yourself and how we speak to ourselves.
- Look after yourself.
This article was contributed by Jacki Hehir, Development Officer with Ballyhoura Development, a member of Parenting Limerick. Parenting Limerick is a network of parenting and family support organisations. For more information on this and other topics go to www.loveparenting.ie.