Teaching Kindness

This week I’ve had an opportunity to learn about some of the people who rally with the organizations that aspire kindness. Their causes were all noble…be it in response to tragic loss, or religious beliefs, or to “pay it forward,” or to have a greater purpose, or just to have kindness be a reason into itself. And all these organizations had something, besides kindness, in common…

…To teach how to be kind.

Kindness is taught by seeing, by doing, by repeating. Kindness is instilled and encouraged as a quality we want all people to exhibit. On days such as Random Acts of Kindness Day, we witness to a cultural phenomenon…a collective decision to go out of our way to “do good” for others. And when people see how good breeds further good, it has a resonating affect. Hopefully the reverberations from that impact are a reminder that we do not need a dedicated day to behave this way.

Some organizations take this idea a step further, and provide media to foster kindness education. They target youth and reward specific values, with the goal of molding behavior into a kinder outlook. Elementary lessons plans range from sharing, to following the rules, to understanding feelings, listening and good manners. As children become less self-centered, lessons include learning how to problem solve, how to help others, empathy, respect and managing stress. As they become more advanced they are taught healthy communication with integrity, how to resolve conflicts, combating peer pressure and learning to love yourself.

I believe this is the most indelible result of kindness. We can do a kind act, and perhaps make someone’s day better. We can behave kindly, and influence the people around us to consider a new way of being. We can all be subject to daily stress, or experience sorrow, or have anger and fear from life’s twists. But if we are able to instill in others the bright beacon of kindness then perhaps the darkest days of the people we meet will not be as bleak. For when you are not around, they can look within themselves and realize we are all helpless…all of us can be victim to hardships as well as lucky with prosperity…and all we can do is to get out and help someone, even if that someone is ourselves.

I hope kindness teaches you something, every day.