I love the month of February; we celebrate love and friendship, and it's when the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation highlights the power of kindness. I'm all about spreading their message to make "Kindness the Norm."
As a little girl, I was fortunate to witness and receive my mother's kindness. Every day she did something to light up my world. Whether it was a cheerful greeting each morning, a warm hug, an after-school snack, or a goodnight kiss, she showered me with kindness.
She also extended her kindness outside of the home. I often watched her help older adults with their groceries or help them cross the street, take food to a neighbor in need or make a homemade treat for my teachers. Her example continues to move me.
It's almost certainly why I value Kindness so much today.
As parents, we strive to raise responsible, resilient children who can successfully navigate the world AND who embody character traits like kindness, empathy, and compassion.
Unfortunately, It's easy to lose sight of kindness in today's fast-paced, media-dominated, stress-packed world. Most of what we see on TV, in the news, and on social media can fill our minds with fear and negativity.
Our hearts can be clouded by worry, and we can lose sight of our power to influence our kids—in our home!
Our home is a place of comfort and security, where we retreat after a long day at work, build memories with our loved ones, and recharge our batteries, but it can also be a place of stress, conflict, and negativity.
One of the easiest ways to create a more harmonious and happy home is by cultivating Kindness.
Being kind means, we are generous and considerate without expecting anything in return. It also means we treat others with respect, compassion, and understanding. To cultivate kindness in our home, we must nurture and practice these traits and carefully create the conditions for it to grow. It starts with us!
Why Kindness Matters in the Home
There are many reasons why kindness is essential in the home. Firstly, it helps to create a positive and supportive environment. When we treat each other with Kindness, it helps to build trust, respect, and communication. This leads to a greater sense of belonging and harmony.
Secondly, Kindness reduces stress. It is well known that stress is a significant cause of illness and can have a negative impact on our physical and mental health. When we are kind, we release oxytocin, also known as the "feel-good hormone," which helps reduce stress and promote calm and relaxation. Additionally, when we perform acts of kindness, we are more likely to focus on the present moment and not on our worries, which can further reduce stress and anxiety.
Thirdly, Kindness reduces conflict. When we approach conflicts with kindness rather than anger and frustration, we are more likely to find a solution that benefits everyone involved. Our children feel seen, heard, and understood. This leads to a greater sense of happiness and fulfillment and creates a more uplifting and peaceful environment in our home.
Lastly, Kindness benefits the giver and the receiver. Did you know your brain releases the same "feel-good" hormones whether you give, receive, or witness an act of kindness? It's true! It turns out kindness is contagious, and when we engage in acts of kindness, we inspire others to do the same.
How to Practice Kindness in the Home There are many ways to practice Kindness in the home. Here are just a few:
Show appreciation and gratitude. One of the simplest and most effective ways to show kindness in our home is to show appreciation and gratitude. This could be as simple as saying thank you, complimenting someone on a job well done, or expressing gratitude for a kind act. An easy way to do this is by leaving notes under their pillow, in their lunchbox, or via text.
Practice active listening. Another way to show kindness is to practice active listening. This means giving your full attention to someone when they are speaking and trying to understand their perspective. Doing this shows that you value their thoughts and feelings and are interested in what they say.
Offer help and support. As moms, we're good at offering our help and support. The key is to help our kids in a way that's meaningful to them and in a way that supports them, not the way we think is "best." This could mean helping them complete a household chore, organizing their room, doing a snack run, or simply listening when they need to talk. By offering help and support, you show that you care and are willing to do what it takes to make their life easier. How can you make your kid's life easier this week?
Practice Patience. I once heard patience defined as pausing to give our time, attention, and emotions to others. To give someone my time requires that I stop what I'm doing so that I can be completely present. Similarly, giving my emotions means putting my feelings to one side to offer others whatever they need (love, compassion, validation, etc.). This view on patience changed how I responded to my kids' bid for attention. It also made it very clear why developing patience takes practice, practice, practice. Being patient with our kids is one of the most loving ways to show kindness.
Celebrate successes. Finally, it's important to celebrate successes and milestones in the home. This could be as simple as acknowledging a job well done or as elaborate as throwing a party to celebrate a special occasion. By celebrating successes, you show that you value the achievements of others and that you are committed to creating a positive and encouraging environment within the home.
"Kindness is the most powerful, least costly, underrated agent of human change." - Bob Kerrey
In conclusion, Kindness is essential for creating a happy and harmonious home. It reduces conflict and stress, builds respect, trust, and connection, and creates an uplifting, encouraging, and supportive environment that benefits all.
Remember, even if your kiddos are not "great" at expressing kindness, YET, they will benefit from your example. The more you lead and teach them to do the same, the more Kindness will GROW in your home.
Here's to practicing Kindness in our Homes!!
P.S. Check out the Random Acts of Kindness website for a ton of creative ideas to practice kindness. https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/kindness-ideas
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