What does kindness mean to you? Stop for a minute, close your eyes and really think…what does kindness mean to you?
I asked this question to a few of my favorite little people in my life and here’s what they had to say:
“Have you seen the NeverBeast before? The NeverBeast was kind to the fairy because he helped get people away from dangerous things.” – Noah, 4 years
“If you be nice to someone and include them.” – Cora, 6 years
“Treat people the way you want to be treated.” – Lydia, 6 years
“To be nice to someone else…that’s too easy!” – Emilia, 6 years
“To listen to people, to make friends and have fun with other people. You can let them choose the game.” – Connor, 8 years
“Doing something good, or a good act.” – Jameson, 9 years
I am fortunate to have three grandparents still in my life, so I asked my grandparents the same question. Here is what they had to say when I asked what kindness means to them:
“How one person treats another. For example, if I say good things to somebody that shows that I feel good about that person and I tell the person how I feel. However, even if I don’t know someone I can show kindness. If I go to a grocery store and the cashier says something nice, I can easily say something kind back. You can compliment someone’s smile or expression to be kind.” – Effie, 85 years
“It doesn’t cost anything more to say something nice to somebody. If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all. -Bill, 86 years (He added, “a young 86” just for clarification.)
“When I’m struggling with something and someone comes to my aid. That is an act of kindness.” – Eileen, 89 years
Between the kids and my grandparents, there is quite a big gap in the ages. My grandparents all have a plethora of life experiences and yet, the answers are the SAME.
Why is kindness so important? Very early on, children hear the words, “Be kind.” Sometimes I worry that they hear it so much that it becomes chatter and no longer holds meaning. I believe the real challenge for us as parents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, community members is not only to say, “Be kind,” but show children around us HOW to be kind.
Children are like sponges and absorb everything. The good and also…the not so good. However, they are not only like sponges, but they are like moldable clay. We can positively mold the clay through our actions and words. The clay hardens as children become teens and adults, and it is more difficult to mold.
What is one thing you can do today to SHOW kindness? Maybe it’s giving a compliment to your child, a genuine, authentic compliment about who they are as a person, not about what they are wearing or what they look like. Maybe you help someone load their groceries into their car who looks like they could use a hand. Maybe you buy a coffee for the next person in the drive thru at your favorite coffee shop. Maybe you carve out a few extra minutes to play with your pet. Maybe you take two extra seconds to just smile and wave to your neighbor.
Kindness doesn’t have to be this huge event that needs to be scheduled. The little things will start to add up, not only for you but for the person receiving your kindness. Over time, the kindness actions will become more natural and more frequent.
My compliment to you today is that I thank you for reading this post. Thank you for taking the time to reflect on what kindness means to you.
Wishing you a very happy and reflection filled Memorial Monday. Thank you for reading.