Kindness is Always the Way
Kindness is a lesson that I hope our children learn and hold dearly. It seems that the world around us is so often focused on being right, getting the last word in, or proving, that the kindness aspect gets pushed aside. For many, being strong equates to speaking your mind, putting your foot down and using demanding language. But is every situation the right time to use such force? I have to say, the strongest people I know have learned to often keep their mouths shut. It’s doesn’t take much to lash out when angry or hurt, but it takes a great amount of strength to wisely choose your battles. To walk away from proving or winning. To let go and move on.
These are hard lessons for adults, let alone kids. In my last decade of motherhood I have learned more than anything that our children will copy our actions more than they follow our words. If we show them a lack of restraint, unkind actions or the inability to put good into this world, they will follow those examples. And the translation isn’t always apples to apples.
Recently at church our pastor was discussing parenting and he hit on a key point – our children will see our behaviors and will copy them over into their world. Children who witness parents talking poorly about authority figures (boss/president) will be children who speak poorly of their authority figures (teachers/parents). Children who witness parents acting in an unkind, gossiping manner about coworkers, family or past friends will in turn become children who do the same within their circle of influence at home, school and in sports teams. Is this the way we want our children to behave?
Our little and no-longer-so-little ones are watching us. Always. They hear the conversations we have in other rooms, they see the facial expressions we make and they can identify the snide comments that adults often think is above their understanding. They are watching and they are learning. A pastor once told the story about how a newlywed couple mentioned to her that they were starting to plan for kids. Her response? Are you good enough to recreate? It got a little chuckle from everyone but it hits at the heart of this discussion. Are we who we want our kids to be? Would we want them to learn all of our traits and characteristics? Would we want them to behave in the same way in one day if they are in our shoes?
They are hard questions to ask because they often bring to light areas that we need to work on. It can be hard to truly look at ourselves and the life we are living and ask the question – am I doing the right thing? It’s hard to change, especially in areas where conflict or pride has become a habit, but what a great lesson to give our children. Not only for them to see us working on ourselves and being honest about our faults, but also the lesson that in the end, kindness can always lead the way. Kindness is always the right answer.