It seems like such a cliche to say, but the impact these three little words have can be so profound.
I find myself repetitively reminding my three children as I kiss them out the door every morning before school, like a broken record; but always with the best of intentions.
"If you see someone without a smile, give them yours.... and above all, be kind!"
I realize how "Cinderella-ish" this sounds, and the eye roll my 12 yer old is a subtle reminder of my "Pink-skies ideology" believing that we all live in a safe world with no bullies and no judgement.
"Yes, we know!", all in chorus from my three little bears.
"Good, I'm glad!"
We all know how to be kind, but I have a sneaky suspicion that it might be a it harder for some than others.
Some times being kind means saying nothing at all. That's the easiest way to be kind!
Sometimes being kind is a knowing nod, or a simple smile with no words needed.
Kindness can take on many shapes and sizes. A little note to your child's teacher thanking them for sending home a beautiful drawing, or simply stating that they care (It means the world to us when parents acknowledge our work)
Taking an extra moment to acknowledge a colleagues efforts at work, or to simply tell them they look nice today. What a simple thing to do! What an easy way to make someones day!
Personally, I find that I have a better day if I go out of my way to be a little nicer to people. Random acts of kindness are great for your own personal karma, and it is something I have been teaching my own children since they were little.
Simple things like leaving the beach cleaner then you found it, offering to buy a stranger their coffee, weed-eating your neighbours boulevard for them, or giving up your seat on a bus to an elder (or anyone who needs to sit down more than you do.)
Derek and I practice manners with the children when we are out for dinner with the children. We find this a great time to practice ordering respectfully by making eye contact with the server, and by starting with the simple line..."May I please have....."
My two older boys are fantastic now with this, and I can see their confidence build as they get older and use their skills. It makes my heart so happy to hear them being kind to servers and wait staff, and every time I can see the smile on the servers face, or the nod back at us, acknowledging the manners hey have used. We often are told that our children have great manners. This makes me very proud.
I believe that good manners are a show of respect. I also believe that all people deserve to be treated respectfully regardless of their job or profession.
Loris Malaguzzi ( a school teacher from Reggio-Emilia, Italy and one of my greatest mentors) reminds us that their is no hierarchy when it comes to people. That we should treat the Principal in the same regard as the custodian. People are people, regardless of what they chose to do for work.
Kindness goes a long way in my books, and I plan on continuing to remind the children in my care to use their kind words and to encourage their kind actions when conflicts arise. Kindness and working with children go hand in hand. It's easy to be kind when you are constantly surrounded by it.
I feel so fortunate to work along side with some of the most caring and kind educators in the field of early childhood education. It is such a pleasure to exist in an environment that practices kindness each and everyday so effortlessly.
Thank you to all of the incredible men and women at Little Bears for your love and respect for our children. Your constant kindness reflects in the incredible children we have the honor to work with every day.
"In a world where you can be anything,
start with being kind."
Thanks for reading,