‘Tis another season to be jolly and not naughty, especially for our kids who are excited about their holiday presents. And since they’re more willing to be nice this time of year, why not take advantage of the season to remind them of the importance of kindness?
Kindness Has Its Benefits
It goes without saying that kindness is among the most important values every kid should learn, not only because it’s a reflection of how well we’ve raised them as parents, but also due to the benefits it provides them. When our kids perform even small acts of kindness, such as sharing their toys with others, the acts are said to give joy, not only to the recipient but also to the giver.
Scientifically, experts believe kindness affects our brain and results in great benefits, including an increased feeling of happiness and the ability to establish more meaningful connections with peers. It’s also said that kindness improves health, reduces stress, boosts self-esteem and a sense of belonging, and enables more creative thinking. So, while kindness promotes harmony in our community, it also helps our kids become better themselves.
The Ripple Effect of Kindness
However, there’s another important reason to be kind that we should teach our kids, which goes beyond the benefits it provides them and the harmony it creates in our community. In today’s society, school violence has become increasingly rampant. Among these acts of school violence, particularly in the US, are bullying and gun shootings. As parents, we want to protect our kids from becoming victims, and while it’s impossible to stop these incidents, we can still do one tiny act to help minimize them – teaching kindness.
When we teach and promote kindness, especially when we don’t exclude anyone due to their race, religion, or social status, we show our kids that every person deserves respect no matter who they are. We can do so by simply encouraging our kids to say “hello” to those at school who are always alone, or to share their snacks with those who get teased because of their skin color. These might appear to be simple acts, but once the other kids become adults, their experiences of kindness may resonate through them and inspire them to spread kindness to others, and then hopefully, fewer people will be inclined to commit acts of violence. Isn’t this alone a great reason to be kind?
It may be wishful thinking for parents like us, but if teaching these lessons to our kids means we’re giving them not just a holiday present but also the gift of a future with less violence, then why not do it?
JK Legaspi is a freelance writer and a mother of two