Be the Change You Wish to See in the World
Have you ever met someone that was so outgoing and friendly that they could probably make friends with a rock? Helping our kids learn ways to be compassionate and friendly should be an important part of their day-to-day life. Many of us can recall being in a new setting or trying something new and how comforting it was to see a smiling, friendly face or meet someone who was willing to put themselves out there just by offering their hand or help. It really made a difference.
It's true that some kids seem to be naturally more aware of and sensitive to other's feelings, but how we, as parents, respond to their questions, deal with situations in our own lives and how we discuss and present relevant life lessons can impact how they see and treat the world around them.
Kids learn by seeing and doing. In how to raise a compassionate child, Parenting.com suggests admitting your own mistakes by saying you're sorry. Kids will learn that even adults admit that they make mistakes. Other suggestions include rejecting rudeness, showing them how to be gentle and speaking softly. Good points for all of us to remember!
Teaching our kids to be compassionate and inclusive can help combat cyberbullying and bullying, a serious epidemic plaguing schools and communities all around the country.
There are also universal benefits that come from being friendly and compassionate.
- Be the Change You Wish to See in the World - We all have heard you get back what you put into this world. It has to start at home.
- You meet the most interesting people. – I have had the pleasure of meeting amazing, diverse people just by being nice.
- You can learn a ton – You know those people you meet? They have a breadth of experience and for the most part, will be happy to share their wisdom and experience.
- You have Fun! – Who doesn’t need more fun in their lives? It's fun to be nice.
- You can have a meaningful impact in someone else’s life – No one knows what goes on behind closed doors. That person you just met may have had the worst possible day and really needed that smile or encouragement you offered.
- You stand out in a good way – People remember you. It is what differentiates you from the crowd, in a good way!
- You feel good. – Think about how great you feel after you have helped someone out or met a really cool person. It’s energizing!
- Health Benefits – People with a sunnier disposition tend to be healthier and live longer. This quality of knowing how to be positive is something found in every longevity society.
- You can get unexpected benefits! – I have been able to go on tours of gov’t buildings that most people don’t get to see. I have been to concerts, shows, sports games, been given thoughtful gifts, hugs, projects, free meals, swag… You name it. All because I was nice and friendly. No one will go out of their way for you, if you don’t put yourself out there.
Keep in mind that teaching our kids how to be friendly and compassionate while also teaching them about stranger danger needs to be done with care. If we all make a committed effort to incorporate opportunities and lessons for our kids to learn and experience acts of compassion, we can all be the change we wish to see in the world.