We love to talk about kindness. There are cute signs about kindness that we put up in our homes. We save and share inspirational quotes about it. And kindness is an important ideal that we teach to our children. But kindness is about so much more than nice thoughts and good ideals. It’s about how we live, how we use our words, and how we respond to the unexpected or frustrating situations in our lives. So let’s think about how to make kindness more than a nice ideal for our kids and for ourselves.
It’s a practice
Most of us really do think kindness is important, but instead of thinking of it as an ideal, let’s think of it as a practice. And that word, practice, is exactly that. It takes more than nice thoughts, although those do help. Without action, kindness will be nothing more than a nice ideal.
So how do we make kindness into a practice? Well, we have to practice. And this is the hard part. We have to catch ourselves in our lack of kindness and change it around. This is what makes kindness more than a nice ideal in our everyday lives.
We have to practice when we disagree with someone or when things are frustrating. If we’re honest, most of us struggle to be kind when we are frustrated or trying to work through a disagreement.
Kindness has to be a priority when we don’t understand a situation. A lot of the difficult situations we face in life are things that we do not understand. Sickness, pain, injustice, unfairness, loss…these are difficult situations that are hard to understand. Still, kindness could be part of all of this.
What about when we are misunderstood by other people? Our desire to defend ourselves or set the record straight can send us into an attitude of unkindness. A practice of kindness would help us to see this attitude and be ready to turn it around.
And then there are the times when we have the right to be angry. We all face times of mistreatment. No matter whether we are being mistreated in a large way or a relatively small way, our reaction tends toward a justified anger. While there is nothing wrong with being angry about a situation, we can still find a way to be reasonable and kind in how we express our anger. So when we are mistreated, or when we are walking along with someone else who has been mistreated, we can find a way to address the issue in an attitude of kindness.
Kindness is not weakness
Now, none of this practice of kindness means that we must back down from what we see as right or that we must allow others to mistreat us. We can stand up for justice and truth and right treatment. This practice of kindness is just a much better way to walk through these situations. Kindness brings us peace as we deal with these difficult situations. And it helps us to live out our ideal of kindness.
Influencing our kids
So what does our own practice of kindness do to help our kids? Just like everything else, our example of practiced kindness will become the norm for our kids. Our kids will learn to treat other people with kindness by watching us treat people with kindness.
And let’s talk to our kids about kindness. We can tell them about how upset we were in a situation, but how we tried hard to be kind in dealing with it. And then when our kids are angry, we will be more equipped to lead them to a place of kindness as they deal with their anger.
Let’s help our kids to see kindness as something we do. They can learn that kindness is more than a nice ideal.
Signs to help
As we work on kindness and help our kids to be kind, it helps to identify and validate feelings, both our kids’ feelings and our own.
And check out our shows over at My Signing Time. They are full of fun, validation, kindness, and lots of new signs to learn. You can try out a digital subscription with a 14-day free trial right here.
What ways will you make kindness a practice in your life?