Henry James said, “Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind; the second is to be kind, and the third is to be kind.”
I suppose you don’t have to wonder about his philosophy of life or his priorities.
I reflected on the occasions when someone’s kindness mattered most to me and how the impact lingers.
I thought about how something as basic as kindness can be an anchor in a family system; especially within a recovering family. How much we all need simple acts of kindness.
I also thought about when I am kind to others and how fulfilling the results. There’s pleasure inherent in giving.
Lastly, I thought of some actions that are kind. I’d like to share a few ideas from an endless list.
- Offer to make someone a meal
- Write an actual thank you note (not a text)
- Smile and acknowledge someone
- Listen with intention
- Hold space for someone’s pain
- Do something for someone and don’t tell anyone
- Send flowers for no particular reason
- Cheer someone up with a hug, a kiss, a tender touch
- Compliment someone
- Thank your waiter
- Move a turtle off the road
- Say hello to the produce manager
- Refrain from gossip (even about your ex)(especially your ex)
- Give a dollar to a homeless person
- Pick up the phone to make a call instead of a text
How can we teach children the value of kindness?
Your example is the greatest teacher. Be a positive role model. Talk about others compassionately. Express your gratitude when others are kind to you. Take note and talk about it with your children.
And then I thought, make it fun. Talk about your excitement when you deliberately do a kind act. For example, talk about how Maggie will be surprised when you bring her the cookies you baked for her.
Initially focus on noticing the other person’s response, but ultimately help your children take note of how they feel.
Teach your children an important lesson- that we rise by lifting others.