If you are selling kindness on a t-shirt, you can feel free to count me out. Don’t get me wrong. It isn’t the fact that I don’t want my daughter to be kind, but I don’t think that wearing a t-shirt is going to promote any more kindness in the world. It’s been so trendy to to rock those t-shirts, yet it seems like that kindness isn’t always extended to everyone. Wearing a t-shirt will not magically alter negative behavior, nor encourage good behavior. Want to be kind? How about we try modeling it for our children.
I’m going to be blunt and say that kindness starts with us. I mean, have you ever joined a mom or parent group on Facebook and asked for advice? Hold onto your hat and wait for the judgmental comments. I have to wonder how exactly we are modeling kindness when we can’t even refrain from publicly attacking another person on Facebook. It’s always especially kind when an unsuspecting woman asks a simple question and is subsequently devoured by the “helpful” individuals in the group. Right on, ladies. Let’s keep modeling that kindness.
And how about the physical attacks? I hope that I am not alone in thinking that comments about the appearance of other children should be off limits. Well, truly the physical appearance of anyone should be off limits, but I digress. Sadly, I have heard comments like these kinds and it wasn’t only once. Should we keep rocking our kindness t-shirts as we systematically destroy the self confidence of all the children within earshot of our comments. How about we try to dismiss words like pretty, ugly, fat and skinny from our vocabulary? You can read more about that here.
And what ever happened to greeting other human beings in public? We spend hours pinning “random acts of kindness” so that we can deliver some muffins to a perfect stranger, yet we fail to say hello to the mom standing alone on the playground. Come on, people! How does that make sense? When we behave this way, we show our children very clearly that kindness only extends to the people we deem worthy. If our actions speak louder than our words, then we are screaming exclusion instead of kindness.
If we truly want to promote kindness in practice and not just as a slogan, we need to put in a little effort. We need more acts of simplicity like greeting others even if it’s just a smile. We need to be more willing to widen our circles and include others when we can. We need to speak words that build others up instead of tearing them down. And we need to understand that the behaviors we model is what our children will repeat. Be kind. And not just because it’s cool to wear the t-shirt.