• susan jungermann

Kindness Starts at Home

“Being kind isn’t always easy. Or convenient. But it has the potential to change everything.”-hplyrikz.com

My three-year-old friend, Jane, has beautiful, long, bright red hair. Whenever we go anywhere, people comment on it. Although she is not my daughter, I have stopped trying to explain that and just started accepting the compliments. My hair, on the other hand, has always had a growth “stopping” point. I’m jealous of Jane’s beautiful thick red hair. One day, tired of my own, thin, dried out hair, I cut it off where it was clearly breaking off, but it was a noticeable six inches. It was late in the afternoon and I was in view of the babies in the baby room so I could keep an eye on them as they played. I cut off my hair, blew it dry and styled it. Everyone that came in my home that afternoon mentioned that my haircut was cute, and I would say how I had done it myself, and then we would all giggle about what a terrible idea that was.

That weekend, I received a text message from Jane’s mom with a picture. Jane too, had decided she needed a haircut! She had gotten the scissors and carefully cut several uneven inches out of her beautiful, long, baby red hair. I was mortified! I knew exactly what had happened. She saw me cut my hair so she decided it was a good idea to cut her hair.

Children are always watching their caregivers. That’s where they pick up all of their clues on how to manage themselves in the world. I didn’t explain to Jane what I was doing, I didn’t even talk to her about it. However, she modeled my behavior exactly. Your children are always watching you.

It’s important to choose your thoughts with purpose. Kindness has far reaching benefits in your life:

· Kindness allows your children to view the world with a more optimistic view when they have kind parents.

· Kind parents have kinder children.

· It can reduce stress and anxiety when you are kind to others.

· Kindness releases feel good hormones in your body.

· Kindness is good for your heart.

· Kindness reduces illness.

According to David R. Hamilton, in his book Why Kindness is Good For You, when we are kind it changes the way we view ourselves and the world. We see ourselves as more compassionate and useful and feel less guilt and shame in our lives. We give people in our lives the benefit of the doubt.

We are more helpful and get involved in altruistic activities such as volunteering.

Other helpful ideas to build thinking in a positive direction.

· Gratitude -- write down in a journal everything you are grateful for. Do this frequently.

· At bedtime, list with your children things you are grateful for.

· Forgiveness -- write a letter to a person you are trying to forgive, even if you don’t send it.

· Forgiveness is letting the hold someone has over you go and realizing you have the ability to feel good regardless.

· Exercise -- participate in physical activities.

· Appreciation -- make a habit of walking around and actively listing things you see that you appreciate.

Build a network of support around yourself of like-minded people. Stay away from others who build negative momentum. Surrounding yourself with kind, happy people will ensure that you will stay kind and happy!


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