How We Are Striving to Be a “Kind Family”

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I listened to a podcast when my son was just born about family values and the importance of creating a list of a select few values, that you as a family collectively agree are important. The podcast host said when growing up, her family frequently went back to their three values when making everyday decisions and during big important moments. She felt it really guided them through life. As a planner and generally a sentimental/thoughtful person, I loved this idea.

Though my son is still too young to do this exercise with my husband and me, we agreed on one value that was important to begin implementing right away – kindness. Truly, if I could wish one quality for my child (or every person, for that matter) it would be to see the value of being kind. I really believe we’d live in a much better world.

I use the word “kind” all day, every day. My son is three, so there are lots of opportunities for teaching through managing our emotions, controlling our bodies, how to share – all are opportunities to practice kindness. In typical toddler fashion, I am frequently met with resistance statements of “I don’t want to be kind”. The majority of the time my son firmly says that he does not want to do “x, y, z”, I respond with as much empathy as possible to see his point of view. But this is one of the few I hold strong. I tell him “You are kind. We are a kind family.”

Incorporating Kindness

We started to incorporate kindness into this most recent holiday season when creating a Christmas countdown/advent calendar with daily activities. The one I repeated on multiple days was “Do a random act of kindness”. My son LOVED it. There were no parameters of what the “act” should be, we let the day decide it. The activities ranged from bringing an older neighbor who had recently lost a spouse a poinsettia plant, to painting pictures for friends. Small, kind acts that made us all feel good as a family.

When I saw “National Random Act of Kindness Day” on February 17 I thought it was a perfect opportunity to continue the tradition into February, and even beyond. Once per month, as a family, we will now have a “Random Act of Kindness” day. Some months this may look like a full day beach cleanup or others it may be as small as mailing a kindhearted card to someone in need. We’re placing the value on the thoughtfulness, not the grandness of the act or the amount of time spent doing it. It doesn’t take long to go out of your way to be kind to another person.

Will these monthly acts create long-lasting instilled values into my child? As with all parenting, I can’t be sure but I feel it is worth the effort! And, in the meantime, it helps my husband and myself to refocus on our family values and practice what we preach as the “kind family” that we are (or strive to be).

So, maybe, take this year’s Random Act of Kindness Day to not only participate and do something small for someone else, but also come together as a family to decide what your values are – kindness or otherwise.