The A-Z of Child Whispering: K is for KINDNESS

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K is for KINDNESS
We use this word so easily but when you really analyse it – what does it actually mean?
Generally – friendly/generous and considerate are adjectives we think of with KINDNESS but I think gentleness is in there too.
I gave a workshop at the Singapore Kindness Movement conference one year and was encouraged by the positive response and interest.
Teachers and parents are really searching for ways to teach KINDNESS and I guess children do not always find the world to be a kind place!
I was chatting to a student last week and asked him about 1 change he would like to see in the world. WORLD PEACE was his choice. He told me how he sees the fighting and hatred on the television and how bad it is. He then asked me about MY childhood and I was catapulted back to a time when we didn’t see these hateful images on our screens every night.
It was a time when my Mum told me to run along after school and not to return till dinner-time. So, off to the river we went to climb trees, fall down, fish, slip in freezing streams and generally (mostly) get home in 1 piece to eat and off to bed with a book.
Imagine parents being able to say that to kids these days?
Recently I returned to that river and NOTHING has changed! Gentle village, village school, quiet lanes, Saxon Church and giant yew trees- feeling of indescribable peace,
Of course the world was not a totally safe place then and I certainly experienced my share of unkind teachers and children. This is part of normal growing up.
However, we were shielded and allowed freedom to think, be and develop.
I can’t help wondering what these horrific images in the media might be doing to young people? I don’t believe we can hide our children from the media forever. The student I was chatting with was 14 and very savvy with digital media, websites and the like.
But he was worried enough to want to chat about it.

So how can we teach our kids to be kind in this society?
We just DO it– one kind act at a time. Leap in!
I have always been a fan of the Random Acts of Kindness movement. https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/
But let’s model it and teach it in a way that is not always random. How about some deliberate PLANNED kindness!
Let’s set out every-day to be kind, model kindness too children and encourage them to practise it on a daily basis!
So – How do we teach kindness to children?
Start by being kind to yourself. Take some time each time to think and BE with yourself. Get back into your body and stop spinning!
Allow your children to do the same. Children crave SPARE TIME to just play and BE.

Be kind to your children- not indulgent. Look at this amazing website for practical examples and be inspired by the incredibly short but powerful life of Martin Richard– a real believe in peace and kindness. His message will live on forever!

Kindness: How You Can Teach Children to Care for Others

See this link for 14 amazingly practical ways to make kindness a way of daily family life! http://www.parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/advice/14-little-ways-to-encourage-kindness/

We have made KINDNESS a real part of our EQ4KIDZ program and we often have a minute of KINDFULNESS – where we sit with dimmed lights and consider kind acts we can do for each other.

We CAN change the world- 1 kind act at a time.
Children are wired for empathy and get so much satisfaction from BEING kind rather than just receiving kindness. Big people too!

PAY IT FORWARD for kids

 

The phrase Pay It Forward in red text on a yellow sticky note posted on a green notice board

Last night I watched the classic 2000 PAY IT FORWARD movie: https://youtu.be/TlZDDACt8Nw

If like me- you missed it- watch it today! Martin and I ended up blubbering on the couch but at the end decided that really PAY IT FORWARD is an amazing concept. I know there are various organisations, websites etc out there who organise this and we have used the concept in our EQ4KIDZ programs – especially with older children….. but somehow last night’s viewing has changed me. I want to consciously PAY IT FORWARD each day and help children to do the same.

I notice how excited our kids at ICE get when we talk about BIG IDEAS. They are fascinated and want to become involved. I am going to let this PAY IT FORWARD concept sit with me throughout Lent. (Always a good time for me to reflect!)

Then at Easter I hope to birth the idea to our kids in a really practical format.

What a simple concept. Strip away all the hype, publicity etc and just look at the idea. Imagine-  if we all gave 1 act of generosity a day- even a week or a month- and asked the recipient to simply pay it forward.

Seriously, the world COULD change. we could DO that! Before you call me a dewey eyed idealist- watch the movie and if you’ve seen it- watch it AGAIN.