Optimism is critical to the health and success of our children in the future. In fact, it is #2 on the list of needs for children if they are to be resilient in life. If you would like to know what #1 is ask me on my YouTube Channel. I will answer it there. You may be surprised
Each month we will discuss one virtue with all of our students. This month’s virtue is Optimism. This will be defined in the following ways for our students.
Young students: I look on the bright side!
Older students: Believing and expecting that everything will work out for the best.
We are not your typical after school activity, in fact, we are an education center, working with students on physical self-defense skills while empowering families to bring out the best in our children and ourselves – through the martial arts. We believe every child has 52 gifts in them already. They only need to be taught how to grow and use them in their life. Balanced Life Skills serves parents, teachers, and students to reach that goal
Let’s talk about the benefits of kindness. We depend on the acts of kindness from others for our survival. From the time we were born and then again at the end of our life we are decidedly in need of others caring for us. Kindness is among the principled things that make life meaningful and bring joy and happiness to both the provider and the recipient.
Kindness creates in us a feeling of belonging, warmth, and openness that allows us to communicate to others. All parties involved get the feeling of friendship and trust. We can get rid of our feelings of doubt and insecurity while we can relate to others more easily. The benefits of kindness mean a more peaceful world, and happier life, and a life of meaning.
When practicing kindness for others, it is done with other virtues at the core, including honesty, forgiveness, trust, mindfulness, empathy, patience, respect, loyalty, gratitude and service. When others extend kindness to us, we see these same virtues in them, and soon we realize that we have all of these virtues in us already and it is a matter of digging them out, acknowledging them and educating ourselves in the best ways to use them.
The opposite is true when there is a lack of kindness, even mean-spiritedness. Individually we may not show kindness in some ways, sometimes inadvertently. When that happens, our conscience cries out to us to develop a virtue that we have already mentioned. We may have been responding to a selfish act toward us, or it might be shown as a result of fear, anger or frustration.
However, when we slow down and consider what we want to be known for, we can choose kindess. Our survival both as an individual and as a human race depends on acts of kindness practiced by humans. Kind teachers help students learn; kind parents reinforce their unconditional love for their children, individuals willing to feed the hungry, care for stray animals, play music for the elderly, cleaning a park, sweeping the floor, reading a story to a child, smiling at a stranger.
None of these can be done out of guilt or compulsion though. Kind acts come from our very best selves doing what we can do and become who we are – Kind individuals. So don’t let the problems in the world, the billions of people suffering from hunger or injustice overwhelm us from cultivating kindness in our world. A kind society begins with us as one individual showing kindness to one other individual. This is our starting point. Think Kindness!
Every year there are days set aside for everyone to concentrate on kindness to others. The World Kindness Day held in the fall, Random Acts of Kindness day in the winter, and the whole month of February is devoted to kindness. It is great to have those special occasions, but it is those random acts and sometimes anonymous acts that pleasantly surprise us and create a desire to “pay it forward,” doing the same for others.
What can we do though, what are the opportunities we have to be kind that come up for us unexpectedly that we do not plan for or may not be encouraged to do. All of us have these opportunities, and our children can look for ways to be a part of doing kind acts this way.
An act of kindness may be done without prompting or without thinking about it too much on purpose if we are practicing thoughtfulness. When walking into a store, we may thoughtfully look around to see if someone is near us that we could hold the door open to let them in. We may be even aware of not letting the door go back into their face as we are leaving. Or letting someone in line ahead of us if they have fewer items than ourselves. That would be thoughtful and use courtesy.
Our act of kindness may be as simple as a smile directed to someone we pass on the sidewalk, or the recognition of a homeless person. Little recognition’s of visibility can make a big difference in a person’s life, so how do we show that we see and value people? Every time we do a kind act for someone we are saying to them, “I see you. I value you as human.” So it could be a smile, question or a helping hand.
How could we show kindness at home not connected to what expectations of sharing responsibilities? What could you do if a family member was sick, how could you be helpful? It might be as simple as being more quiet than usual, or asking what they need that we might bring to them? We might show them we are thinking about them by getting or making a card or delivering flowers to their side to cheer them up.
At school it could be noticing the new person in your class, inviting them to join your lunch table. Maybe you have seen someone that is alone and not engaged with others. Do they need a listening ear, a friend, or just an acknowledgment? They may be sad about an event in their life, or they may be getting picked on by aggressors. What could you do to be kind?
How would you show kindness to your pets? How could you show kindness to others in the community, seniors, handicapped, homeless? If you are a parent, think of areas of life that you would like to see your child show more kindness or show it differently and ask them “What would kindness look like in this situation?”
When we take care of others when they are in need or least expect it, we are practicing kindness. Our goal is to THINK KINDNESS.
Kindness is all about being of good to those that cross our path in life including people, animals, situations and the earth itself. When I think kindness I imagine showing care for the welfare of others as much as I care about myself without expecting anything in return. It is a way of copying what the universe does for us, providing air to breathe with nothing asked in return.
As parents who know that if our children grow up with kindness as a core virtue in their life that they will benefit and so will all that cross their path. In fact, some have stated that kindness is the greatest method of self-defense known to man. What does it look like in our day to day life?
Kindness at home embodies other virtues like helpfulness, caring, courtesy and responsibility. When we help each other with household chores, we are showing compassion. When we care for the needs of each other with courteous words, we honor the value of each person.
Kindness at school or for adults at work the simple gestures of holding the door for others, inviting new students or workmates to eat lunch together or supporting each other on projects is showing kindness.
Kindness in our community can be shown by helping out a neighbor, picking up trash or showing appreciation for animals by feeding birds in the winter. There are many simple ways of showing kindness in all aspects of our life. However, we find ourselves so busy and sometimes absorbed in our world, it is best for us to be purposeful about our practice.
From a parents point of view, our purposefully speaking about kindness, role modeling kindness and inviting the participation in kind acts with our children will build in them the desire and practice of thinking kindness and looking for ways to help others.
Each month we will discuss one virtue with all of our students. This month’s virtue is Kindness. This will be defined in the following ways for our students.
Young students: I use caring words and choose kind actions
Older students: Showing care, concern, and consideration for others without expecting anything in return.
We are not your typical after school activity, in fact, we are an education center, working with students on physical self-defense skills while empowering families to bring out the best in our children and ourselves – through the martial arts. We believe every child has 52 gifts in them already. They only need to be taught how to grow and use them in their life. Balanced Life Skills serves parents, teachers, and students to reach that goal.