Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The journey of raising kind and compassionate children

{ The journey of raising kind and compassionate children} 

A couple days ago I had a discussion with some mamas on how we can raise compassionate children. What is it? How do we do it? What can our children teach us as adults about openness and love? It got me thinking about what we do as a family and what we need to begin doing in order to grow into better human beings.  

In an effort to continue raising children who are kind to other, we handle the meltdowns between siblings by sitting each child down and explaining how our actions and words hurt others and what we can do to make things better.Mostly, we have apologies and a little more kindness going around. We also have decided that this summer we will make a family philosophy and post it on the refrigerator so it can serve as a gentle reminder to us when we get off track. And, I started to gather materials for a Kindness Jar that we will fill with acts of kindness that we catch others in our home doing with the complete understanding that there is no reward once the jar is filled other than the satisfaction in knowing that we are striving to do the right thing every day. It won't be easy but raising children isn't meant to be easy. My husband and I believe that our children look to us to do and say the right thing especially at their young age. It is not the perfection game where we have to be perfect parents (because we aren't) but it is to show our children that even when we misstep the right thing to do is try and earnestly fix it if we can then learn from it and be a better person. 

Sadly, a city not too far from us has been embroiled in turmoil the past few weeks and it boiled over the other night. My oldest daughter happened to see the news and she couldn't believe that people would do such terrible things. For the first time, I didn't have an answer for her that she would understand because she is a child. I simply explained some people do things because their anger takes control of them. Later that night, I laid awake thinking about my answer and how I desperately wanted to explain to her that those who do the wrong thing are small in number compared to those who do the right things. And what this world really needs is compassion, love, understanding, and kindness. I want to tell her that we are all in this journey  of life together and kindness will see us through. 

This morning I woke up with a renewed sense of purpose. I explained to her that our job right now is to be kind. In our home, at school, and in our little town it is our responsibility to be kind. I asked her to be extra kind today to her friends at school. She asked why? And I told her because change in the world is going to start with children like her. It was the simplest explanation and to some they may scoff at such an oversimplification. But our world is a deeply complex place and if we can add a little kindness and compassion to our corner of the world than surely we have made it a better place. 

Showing our kindness with my younger ones by making a care basket for their grandma who is recovering from knee surgery and bagging up some old gently used clothes for a local charity.