Thomas, the cutest five-year old you’ll ever meet, did a drawing of “Spiderman as an Angry Bird” just for me.
When Thomas gave me the drawing I said, “Wow! What a great picture!” I also spoke the language of virtues by adding, “How kind of you to think of me!”
I asked him if he knew what kindness is—he said it’s being “nice”. When I asked him what nice is, he said “Uh… it’s being nice.”
It seems like parents are always telling their kids to be “nice”. Instead of “nice”, try encouraging your kids to practice kindness.
Excerpts from The Family Virtues Guide
What is Kindness?
Kindness is being concerned about the welfare of others. It is showing you care about people, animals, and the environment as much—or more—than you care about yourself.
Kindness is shown in small gestures that brighten people’s lives.
Kindness is showing love to someone who is sad or needs your help.
Why Practice Kindness?
Everyone needs help from time to time. Without kindness no one would listen when people or animals need help. Everyone would only be looking out for himself or herself.
The world is lonely without kindness.
How Do You Practice It?
You practice kindness by noticing when someone or something needs help or special attention.
You do things that give others happiness—your parents, your friends, your teachers, your brothers and sisters, and even people you don’t know very well.
You find out what habits harm or help the environment and choose kinder ways.
When you are tempted to be cruel, to criticize or tease, you decide not to do it.
You accept people who are different or handicapped instead of ignoring them or teasing them.
Give your kids a high-five and say “Congratulations!” They are practicing kindness when they…
- Give tender attention to someone who is sad or needs help
- Do things that give others happiness
- Practice habits that help the earth (reduce, reuse, recycle)
- Resist the temptation to be cruel in your words or actions
- Accept people who are different
- Take good care of animals
Encourage them to keep trying! Your children need more practice when they…
- Always put themselves first
- Don’t pay attention to the needs of others
- Don’t think they can help the environment
- Tease and play tricks on others
- Ignore or ridicule someone who is different
- Hurt animals
- Neglect their pets
As parents, let’s set an example and practice Kindness—we’ll be inspiring our children to do the same, and guiding the next generation in a common belief that virtues can help create a better world.
Special thanks to The Family Virtues Guide, by Linda Kavelin Popov with Dr. Dan Popov Ph.D., and John Kavelin, and The Virtues Project, a global grassroots initiative to inspire the practice of virtues in everyday life.
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