“There are going to be times when people aren’t always nice to you.” The words flowed out of my mouth matter of factly and without much pre-thought. My four year olds face crumpled up and she looked at me with watery eyes. “What do you mean, Mom? WHO won’t be nice?” Oh, to be four years old again. Her biggest worry is when I give her the wrong colored straw for her smoothie or what outfit to pick out each morning.
She still lives in our protected little bubble and it tugs at my heart to know that I will be sending her out into a world of unknowns in the not so distant future. But I explained to her that it’s okay and there will be times where people are less than kind, and that it’s important for her to know that she is unique, well loved and worthy of respect. The wheels were turning in her innocent mind and she was absorbing every word I said. The thing is that kids are SO influential and their thoughts are literally molded by what they see and hear from those around them. Am I perfect? Heck, no. Are my kids perfect? No way. I yell at my kids more than I would like to admit and sometimes I look at my phone way too much when I should be looking at them. My kids fight like normal siblings, they argue over toys and sometimes it escalates to hitting, pinching and kicking **insert: reasons I sometimes yell at my kids. But if there is ONE thing and one thing only that I want them take through life it’s this: BE KIND. Even when it’s hard. Even when they are angry, frustrated or feel mistreated. Even when they disagree with something or someone or when someone has been less than kind to them. Always BE KIND and always fight fair.
I’m not suggesting that they give in and let the other person feel like they’ve ‘won’ – to me, kindness is not a weakness rather it’s a sign of strength. There are always two ways to react and I hope they will choose kindness and humility. In moments of anger – take a deep breath and ask yourself… what was he/she thinking? Instead of… WHAT was he/she thinking!!! In moments of disagreement – stop for a moment and confidently ask – why does he/she feel that way? Instead of WHY does he/she feel that way!!! People forget things you do and they forget things you say – but they never ever forget the way you made them feel.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become a kinder, more accepting person. I am still far from perfect, but I worry much less about what others think of me and much more about how I make others feel. I judge much less and I love more. I love life more. I love others more. And in turn I love myself more.
This life we live is SO darned beautiful. And for those of us who have child(ren) to share this life with… let’s do our best to show them the beauty in all things, all people and to be kind. Show them how to warmly smile at those around us. Compliment a stranger. Stay loyal to those you know and love. Hold the door and say hello. Be humble, but count your blessings. Always be genuine. Admit your mistakes. Dream big. Laugh loudly. Speak your mind, but do it thoughtfully. Spend less time talking about others and more time living your life to the fullest. Our lives are made up of beautiful stages and each stage doesn’t have to be perfect for us to look back at it fondly (and beautifully). And we don’t have to be perfect to live fully, but kindness helps us live joyfully, more happily and thus… FULLY!