By Stephen Walton © 2012
Role modeling kindness is an essential aspect of "Positive Parenting". What you are, teaches your children far more than what you say, so if you want your children to be kindhearted...
You too must be kindhearted and perform genuine acts of kindness on a consistent basis. Not just when the spirit moves you. Try a little kindness regularly, use words of kindness and make room in your heart for others at all times.
Look for opportunities to set an example for your children and involve them in creating kind ideas to act on.
When you're modeling kindness, you must demonstrate and ingrain the principle of "The Golden Rule": To do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
It creates good citizenship and builds a solid foundation encompassing the virtues of caring, compassion, fairness, justice, empathy, thoughtfulness, and most importantly; respect for others.
Genuine kindness is one of the most important virtues in developing good character in your children.
By role modeling kindness and encouraging them to open their hearts to others and act kind at all times they will develop an unconscious habit that will become second nature to them….
Their soul will grow abundantly in a spirit of love and compassion for mankind, their self-esteem will flourish and they will develop one of the most valued character attributes of all…
Sir Winston Churchill had the right idea when he said:
"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give"
Make Acts of Kindness a Daily Habit
Involving your children in acts of kindness will help them nurture the warmth of kindness and develop a genuine heartfelt desire to continue.
To share a personal example:
My youngest daughter and I were having lunch in one of our favourite restaurants when we decided to anonymously pay for someone else's meal.
While we ate, we had great pleasure looking around for a possible candidate and finally decided on a very sweet, kind looking woman dining alone, I would guess her to be in her early seventies. We then made arrangements with the waitress to forward her final bill to us.
Our excitement escalated with anticipation as we anxiously watched the woman attempt to pay the waitress. Her response was exhilarating and priceless as she feverishly scanned the room to see who may had done this.
What made this moment so memorable was the anonymity of it all. It's a wonderful way for your children to get a heartfelt feeling of giving with absolutely no expectation of reciprocal kindness.
I truly believe the most personal fulfillment comes when a good deed is not recounted to anyone.
If you boast about it, you neutralize its intent and undermine your personal integrity.
Do it solely and genuinely for the benefit of others, not for personal praise.
While modeling kindness to your children there are many ways to include them in combined acts of kindness, either randomly, planned or anonymously.
The prime objective is to include your child in both the decision making and the act itself so they can personally foster a spirit of philanthropy and goodwill.
This in turn will help them fully embrace a feeling of compassion and empathy for others.
I have elaborated on a few ideas generated from: "The Random Acts Of Kindness Foundation."
For more ideas and links to other kindness sites go to our "Random Acts Of Kindness Page."
Here are a few very simple ideas:
A common gesture many people do is to pay for the person behind you in a drive through coffee shop or restaurant. When you do, have your children watch the expression on their faces. It will leave a lasting impression on your children.
As often as possible (time permitting of course) let someone with fewer items in the grocery line go ahead of you.
Encourage your children to always hold the door open for others while greeting them with a warm smile. After time it will become second nature to them.
When you notice someone struggling with their groceries offer to assist them. Or perhaps offer to return their cart. Small gestures like this go along way in developing kindheartedness in your children.
When you're at the park or out in about and you see someone has littered, pick it up while explaining how disrespectful it is. If your children are ever tempted to litter, you can bet they will think of you and stop dead in their tracks.
Look for opportunities to make genuine compliments to others on their attire, new hair style, new vehicle, or their general appearance, (anything positive).
Be free with your hugs to friends and anyone you are comfortable with. Your children will develop a sense of tenderness and develop an affectionate demeanour.
Have your children write out little cards of thank you in appreciation for nice gestures bestowed upon them. Actually going through the process will ingrain it in their minds.
Be a good neighbour. You, along with your children can do good deeds for them: rake their leaves, shovel snow, wash their car, take out their garbage or return the bins after being dumped, always look for opportunities to help them.
Pick some flowers or vegetables from your garden and take them to a neighbour or friend.
Gather unwanted clothing or food and take them down to a homeless shelter or community care center (do this together).
Donate your time together at a homeless shelter, soup kitchen or any agency in need of assistance. Your children need to see first hand how unfortunate others are in life. It will give them a sense of gratitude for their own good fortunes.
Combine your money with your child's own earned money and donate it to a worthy cause. Read the paper together and look for a needy cause. Let your child decide how much and where to donate.
Make a special meal or bake something together and surprise a friend or greet a new neighbour with it.
Compliment your server and cook at a restaurant when you are completely satisfied and make sure your children know you are leaving a tip.
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