Yesterday, I noticed a sweet older lady sitting alone at the adjacent table. She ordered her food and I invited her to join my family and me at our table. To my delight, she obliged. Over a meal and a glass of wine, we shared a wonderful conversation. Turns out, she recently left her career as a librarian to move closer to her only daughter and grandson. As our time together came to a close, I was deeply touched when she offered to buy our drinks. According to my new friend, “dinner was more enjoyable with us…” And I couldn’t agree more.
Have you ever noticed how kindness begets kindness?
Kindness means noticing someone else and recognizing their needs. In essence, it is seeing the value in every person we meet. When we do this, kindness has a way of turning right back around, like a boomerang, to positively impact our own lives.
Being kind to others feels good and actually has been scientifically proven to have many positive benefits such as increasing your energy, happiness, lifespan, and serotonin. Kindness decreases pain, anxiety, stress, depression and blood pressure. Thus being kind is actually good for you. Kindness also creates a feeling of connection. Together, we can make the world a better place with random acts of kindness both big and small. Let’s make kindness fun for our kids. Here are several ways we taught kindness in the Werner home.
- Be an example. If you desire to bring up kind children remember it starts with YOU!!! More is caught than taught. This powerful video demonstrates how our children at a very young age are observant. They want to be like us and are very impressionable. Kindness begins in the home by loving one another well and flows out into the world.
- Teaching manners was very important to us, such as being respectful of others. In our home, we encouraged our girls to say please, thank you, yes sir, yes ma’am. To this day my husband still opens the car door for me and is a gentleman as he knows our girls are watching.
- Teach character. In our home, we would choose a character trait each month that we wanted to impress upon our children such as: honesty, kindness, fairness, humility, responsibility, compassion, perseverance, dependability, etc…
- Look for kindness and then point it out to your children. For example, when we see people doing good things we highlighted them to our girls.
- Talk to strangers, such as the grocery clerk or barista, as if they were your friend. Find something to compliment them on to strike up a conversation, such as I really like your outfit, you have the most amazing eyes or smile, etc.. Everyone wants to feel seen. As silly as it sounds even asking people how their day is going will open them up. Everyone wants to feel seen.
- Smile more often. Play the smiling game by smiling at others to see if they smile back. smiling can spread the warmth of kindness far and wide because smiling is contagious. Look people in the eyes. In our home, we would role play how our children should greet others by looking them in the eye and shaking their hand.
- Play the secret servant game. We made this up and encouraged our girls to do random acts of kindness for family members without being noticed (making their sisters bed, cleaning the bathroom, taking out the trash, etc…) Games make learning fun.
- Volunteer together as a family. When our girls were young we volunteered to feed the homeless. We also took several family mission trips to Mexico. I would also volunteer for the various activities my daughters were involved with.
Generosity and kindness have always been an integral part of our family’s identity. When we lived apart, we would purchase coffee or other fun treats ahead of time to surprise our family as well as out of town friends. As a result, we took what we were already doing to create a family business. Our business aims to make it fun and easy to do this anywhere in the world at any time.
And so, KOYA was born, short for Kindness On Ya (use Australian accent *wink*). The premise of this new venture is about simplifying kindness and we believe that it will help make the world a kinder place especially in a day and age when families and friends are scattered across continents.
Learn more here and become one of the first to send a KOYA!
Do you have any stories about kindness or ideas about how to teach your kids kindness? We would love to hear from you. Let’s make the world a kinder place together. You can send us an email with your stories or ideas here.