I've been thinking a lot about kindness lately.
It's late in the summer. The kids have been together too much. They argue. They say mean things to each other in an attempt to provoke a reaction. We talk about what they could have done differently. It gets better for a while then lather, rinse, repeat.
It drives me crazy and I bet it really isn't that fun for them.
So I've started talking about kindness: what it means, how to do it. what it feels like when you are being kind or someone is kind to you.
Kindness is like a smile that starts from the inside and then you want to share it with someone else. Sharing it will make you feel even better and perhaps make that smile even bigger so you'll want to do it again.
As I was talking about it, I decided action is a much better teacher. So I issued a challenge, every day this week they have to do one kind thing for another person in our family (since there are only 4 of us it means a parent or their sibling). They shouldn't tell the other person they are doing it and they shouldn't expect a thank you. This challenge is about showing kindness because you care about the other person, because you think it will make them happy.
In our discussions my son said "Fine! I'll be kind to you because you are making me do it!"
I almost slapped my forehead in frustration. "No honey, this isn't about making you do something you don't want to do. It's about doing something because you love the other person and you want to show them."
He nodded. "Okay then how do I be kind? Tell me what to do?'
"Well it's not about me telling you. It's about you doing something because you want to."
"But I'm only 6. I don't know what I want to do."
"Okay. How about this: Pulling the cat's tail is not kind. Petting the cat is kind. Hitting your sister is not kind. You can be kind to her by ..."
"Drawing her a picture?"
"Yes that is kind. A picture or something like that."
I told them I would also be doing kind things and I would share what I had done so they could understand and hopefully learn about kindness in the process.
So for the month of August we are going to practice intentional kindness in our house. Kindness to ourselves and to those around us. I am hoping that when September rolls around we will be filled with a lot more love for each other (or at least the kids won't be fighting so much).