I’m sitting here this morning, thinking about how crazy things have become in our world. It seems to me, that somewhere along the line, we forgot how to be nice to one another.
We have politicians that think it’s OK to encourage violence and call people degrading names, simply because of their gender, race or religion. We have millions of people, fleeing a country because it is no longer safe, yet they can’t find a home elsewhere. I had a conversation with a co-worker, who told me he was yelled at for holding a door open for a woman. And then, there was this.
Yes, a waitress in Iowa was denied a tip, because she didn’t look “normal”. What the heck?!?
Now, here’s the thing, we don’t really know the whole story, but suppose that this is the whole story. This young woman was doing her job, and was told she wasn’t deserving of compensation because she didn’t look “normal”. I’m seriously dumbfounded by this one. The diner didn’t just forgo a tip, but instead left a note that said, “Tips are only for normal looking people”. The more that I think about this, the more dumbfounded I become. I just don’t get it. How incredibly unkind and rude.
We are adamant about Mackenzie being a kind person, an accepting person. It is very important to her mom, her dad, and to me, that Mackenzie treat others well and accept people for who they are. It can be really challenging to teach kids this today. Television, YouTube, Social Media and the internet is full of people behaving badly. Schools and classrooms are filled with kids and parents that behave badly.
And what is worse, it seems like it’s acceptable!
Being kind doesn’t have to be a big thing. A “thank you”, a smile, holding open a door, helping someone pick up something they’ve dropped, little things matter a lot. We seem to have lost that in our entitled society. We are so focused on ourselves that we have forgotten to be kind and courteous to our neighbors. We’ve also forgotten to teach our children to be kind.
Now, by being kind, I don’t mean that a child should be taught to mindlessly do things for others, rolling over to assist without thought of the consequences or outcomes. There is a big difference between being naïve and getting walked on and being kind. Kind doesn’t have to be something big, or world changing, it just needs to lift up another person.
How do you teach a child to be kind? Well, first of all, start by being the example. Kids will never learn to be kind if their parent is a jerk. Smile at the person passing you in the store, help another person with a door or a heavy grocery cart, wait for the person pulling out of a parking spot. Even when you have to deal with an especially unpleasant person, take the high road, show your child that kindness is best served all the time.
Then, start encouraging kind behavior from your child. Expect “please” and “thank you” to be used. Tell them about the importance of including others in their play time. Ask them to do kind, helpful things for family members. Encourage them to stand with a classmate who is being bullied. Make being kind a daily occurrence, a part of your routine even.
Now, I know there are a few of you out there that are rolling your eyes, thinking “Sheesh, who cares, it doesn’t matter anyway.” Well, it does matter. Kindness is a focal point of a civilized society. A society that supports its children, its poor, its elderly. Kindness is why we all don’t road rage, and beat each other senseless over simple disputes. Kindness holds society together. When people start leaving kindness behind, bad things happen. Riots, shootings, more and more people in prison. Senior citizens dumped in nursing homes, neglected. Dogs and cats abused. The lack of kindness allows the bad in our communities to grow. Forgetting kindness leads to slavery, genocide, murder, abuse. We claim we don’t want these things in our society, yet we step closer and closer to these, just by forgetting to be kind.
So, PLEASE be an example to your children, and be kind. Take a moment today to do something nice for someone. Even better, be kind to someone in the presence of your child. Be a solution to the icky-ness in our society, and teach your children the same. If we all just do one nice thing a day, maybe our world will be a better place for us now, and our children in the future.