Have you ever wondered what KINDNESS really means? The dictionary describes Kindness as a kind act, a good deed, an act of kindness, a good turn, a favour, an act of assistance, a service, a help or an aid. The truth is, everyone wants to be treated with kindness, but the problem is, kindness is not an automatic action. Most people will find it hard to be kind. For parents, we can see it clearly in our kids. Children are not born with kindness, but they need to be raised to be kind kids. As a mum of two boys, it is challenging to teach them even to be kind to each other. Their natural tendency is to fight for the toys, to snatch from each other and not to share. Therefore, it is our responsibility as parents to teach them from a tender age how to be kind so that they can grow up to be kind kids that know how to contribute back to the society.
For our family, our motto is to live a balanced life. A balanced life is to live well, to love, to learn and to contribute. However, how do we start? For us, it starts with caring. Caring about others other than ourselves. In our daily lives, we try to make it a goal and a habit to actively look for opportunities to show that we care. Kindness should not stay as a thought, but it should be carried out as an action. It might even mean some sacrificing on our part, taking up our resources and time. However, if cultivated often, it will become a habit that happens each time an opportunity arises
Kindness starts at home
Since I have two boys and they see each other every day, the first thing we try to teach them is to be kind to each other. They need to learn to share with each other, to play nicely together, to take care of each other and not fight. Of course, that is the ideal. When they do fight, we make sure to really sit them down to talk over it and ensure they forgive each other and move on without harbouring any grudges. We strongly believe that kindness needs to start at home. There is no point to teach them to only do it outside but at home, they act unkindly to each other.
We also teach them to show kindness to everyone who lives in the home by taking ownership of the home. They do that by helping around at home with the house chores. If children really start young with house chores, we believe they will grow up to be helpful to people around them, in their workplaces and in the homes they build in the future. The boys now really enjoy washing the dishes, cleaning the house and doing the laundry even though it did not start easy. They used to be lazy and grumble about it but now they would offer to do it without being asked. I know some people might try to encourage helpfulness by rewarding the children. We do not do that in our house. We don’t offer any rewards for practicing kindness because kindness that expects something in return is not true kindness. Real kindness is doing a favour for someone with humility and expecting nothing in return. It should be done quietly, gently, even better without anyone knowing.
Kindness at School
The boys spend most of their time in school. It’s no point to be really kind at home but become monsters at school! We always drop by school and also encourage them to be kind and helpful in school with their teachers and friends. It’s a joy to catch Jordan helping out with keeping the tables in school on one of the days. At home, I didn’t expect that he can do this heavy work but apparently he can. So, I’m really thankful for the school that teaches them beyond academic and put importance in their character too. Sometimes, kids tend to bully each other in schools. We would teach them to react in kindness because real kindness is about being kind to people that are not thankful to them. Persistent kindness to someone will finally convince them that you are a true friend. That is what we try to teach the boys.
Kindness to Animals
In raising kind kids, we believe in showing kindness to animals. Animals can never return your kindness, but how important it is for us to teach them this virtue. There are too many gruesome news about how badly some humans treat animals. The worst kind of evil act is treating a defenseless animal badly. So, from the time the boys are very young, we always adopt animals. We let them play with strays so they will cultivate the act of loving animals and never mistreating them.
Kindness Through CSR Events
Another opportunity to show kindness is to let the boys participate in CSR programs such as the KidZania CongreZZ annual Caring Project. This sports event activity brought together KidZania CongreZZ kids as well as our children together with the children of Lighthouse Children Welfare Home (Lighthouse). All the children teamed up to participate in a variety of sports, games and activities. It certainly helped them to see beyond their own circle of friends and life. They began to learn how they can contribute their part to charity.
Last Christmas, our church also organised a Charity Food and Fun fair. We brought the boys to have fun but far more than that, we would let them know the purpose behind the event. Everyone got together in unity to work hard to raise funds for charity homes. We hope by involving them in acts of kindness, they can cultivate this into a habit in life so that giving back doesn’t become a chore.