RAISING A KIND PERSON
Posted by Reggie Joiner
So how kind have your kids been lately?
That is one of your goals as a parent right? Along with a good education, health, financial autonomy, faith in God, you hope your kids will be nice, at least some of the time.
That’s because most of us believe life in general just works better when everyone is treating each other kinder. It definitely makes your home a little more pleasant.
Actually being kind, like other positive character qualities, makes you not only happy, but it also makes you healthy. According to one scientist, David Hamilton, kindness changes the brain, impacts the heart and immune system, and may even be an antidote to depression. He also suggests that acts of kindness can even help a damaged heart regenerate faster. (That seemed to be Dr. Seuss’ philosophy too and the medical reason to how the Grinch’s heart grew a couple of sizes in one day.)
But sometimes it’s just hard for kids to be kind, especially when…
a sister ruins a favorite sweater.
a brother eats the last piece of cake.
a friend stabs you in the back.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, (most parents over 40 will understand that cliché), there is one big reason you should remind your kid’s to be kind … God! The idea that we are made in the image of God should be a compelling reason to teach kids they should be kind. Most of the time when a kid asks, “Why?” your answer can be, “because you are made in the image of God!” It’s definitely the answer in this case. Since God created us so we can be nice and because we are created in His image we should value the idea of showing kindness to each other. Maybe that’s why Jesus said…
“Do to others what you want them to do for you.”
That makes a great motto for any home, worthy enough to be put on a plaque, especially since Jesus said it. It’s the perfect line to drop when you’ve been dragged in to referee a disagreement or when you need to silent a vengeful tattle teller. But really, its true. When our kids learn empathy for others, it can have an impact on how they treat them.
I read a blog the other day written by Megan Jordan with a list of questions that she teaches her kids to ask to help them become more empathetic and kind to others. You should try these on your kids, too.
Ask themselves (of others):
How would that make him feel?
How would that make me feel?
Look at her face: What do I think she’s thinking right now?
Is she maybe feeling lonely or left out?
What else might he be upset about?
When fighting ask:
Is it necessary to fight about this?
Is it worth being right or even just winning?
Did I [do something that hurt their feelings] just to be cool?
Are you okay?
Is there anything I can do to help?
Is there anything you need?
Want to play?
So, help your kids learn to start thinking about the feelings of others. That means you have to be intentional about it too, because it can’t be in them if it’s not in you. The absolute best way they will learn how to be kind is when they see you being kind. So be kind to others and be kind to your kids.
Being kind and raising kind people is actually a really good goal to have as a parent, because kind people have better relationships, and they ultimately live a healthier, happier, more successful life.
You can hear more about why and how to teach your kids kindness on this month’s Parent Cue Live podcast.
About the Author:
Reggie is founder and CEO of Orange (The reThink Group). He has co-written two parenting books, "Playing for Keeps" and "Parenting Beyond Your Capacity" as well as other leadership books including "Lead Small" and "Think Orange". Reggie lives in Georgia with his wife, Debbie, and has four grown children, Reggie Paul, Hannah, Sarah, and Rebekah.
HOW TO MAKE GOOD MEMORIES WITHOUT GRUMPY SIDE EFFECTS
Posted by Sarah Anderson
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. We’re on the cusp of all things holiday and fun. The festivals. The fairs. The pumpkin patches. And the promise for more parties and holiday spectaculars just around the corner. It’s the kick off to a magical—if not insane—season, made all the more magical—and insane—with kids.
Not more than a few weeks ago, I was reminded of how magical/insane this time of year is.
Our family had planned and attended so many “fun” things that particular weekend we turned into tired, cranky, sugar-assaulted people of no use to each other or the world.
We wanted to be the fun parents. And to create memories. I wanted us to be able to look fondly back on weekends like this and hear my kids say things like, “Thank you!” “That was awesome!” I didn’t want us to be grumpy and short with each other. But with so much “fun” planned, we started running on less and less, our fuses getting shorter and shorter until it didn’t matter what we were doing. We were too exhausted to enjoy it.
And that’s when it hit me.
When it comes to making memories, my kids are taking note of the emotions that come along with them.
They see a stressed out mom.
A tired dad.
And they are living in sugar strung out bodies.
I’m learning if I want to create good memories that last a lifetime, then I have to do more than just plan for the fun. I have to be at a place to enjoy the fun. And they do too.
What that means for my family is something different than what it means for yours. For ours, it means for us to be at a place to engage fun in a positive and healthy way, sometimes we have to say “NO”. . .
To some birthday parties.
To some festivals.
To some fairs.
To some holiday shanningans.
Not because we are boring and straight-laced parents. But because we are learning ourselves. And we know to get the most out of an experience, we have to bring the most into it. Our best into it.
When my kids remember their childhood. I want them to remember fun experiences. But I also want them to remember happy parents in those experiences.
A mom who is at peace.
A dad who is present.
A family where stressed out wasn’t the norm.
Emotions make great memories. And to have the right kind of emotions, sometimes we have to say no to some things to make room for the emotions we want to last a lifetime.
I want my kids to remember…
Those only come when you give them space.
We are sowing “no’s” now so we can reap the kind of memories we want to have later.
We can’t do it all, which means not every memory can be made. But that’s okay. Because when we push ourselves too hard for too long for the sake of making memories, the only memories our kids make are of tired and grumpy parents who just need to sit down for a minute.
So figure out what matters to you. When we start to pare down our crowded calendar, we’ll start to get a clearer idea of what actually matters—and not just entertains us.
As we are on the brink of a season celebrating gratitude, peace, joy and connection with the people we love, we have the opportunity to dictate whether our calendars will rob us of those very things, or whether we will call the shots.
We can’t do it all. We don’t have to do it all. Don’t be afraid to say “no” this season so you can say “yes” to the sort of memory-making you want to go the distance in your kid’s lives—memories of a fun experience and happy parents.
Because when they get both, everyone wins. And mom and dad won’t need a nap.
About the Author:
Sarah Anderson is a writer and communicator who has been involved in ministry since 2003. She is a lead writer and content creator for Orange's XP3 High School curriculum. Sarah lives in Roswell, Georgia, and is a big fan of her husband, Rodney, her two boys, Asher and Pace, and, in her weaker moments, McDonald's French fries. Read more from Sarah on her blog, www.sarahbanderson.com.