After a hiatus of more than a month, here I am, wipmom, back into action, to start from where I left. Taking off my parenting blog, right from my last blog post on “Gratitude”, today I wish to share some easy ways of practicing gratitude or rather kindness, with our children. In short, ways to consciously try and be good and acknowledge the goodness around!
Now many people would argue why this “Kindness” hulabaloo, when it should be an obvious way of living! I completely agree, but still feel that this particular value is missing out somewhere.
In an age of gadgets, virtual social networking and fierce competition, basic values, including basic manners are often getting skipped. Our fast paced lives and excess workload is hardly giving us time to think well for ourselves, forget about thinking well of others. Hence, sadly though, we are constantly failing to notice the goodness around and worse, failing to acknowledge the same!
In short, these days, kindness has become a kind of a behavioral issue, because it fails to come naturally to us anymore. Maybe because “arrogance is the new cool”! The more offensive/brutal you are, the smarter you are considered, for efficiently and unabashedly putting across your opinion (even if it is at the cost of other people’s sentiments). Sad, but true! Staying considerate and sensitive in speech has become an age-old value and is not seen much!
If someone is good, we end up figuring out the hidden motive behind the act of goodness. It’s somehow not in the emotional makeup of human beings anymore! That’s why, we need to revamp or fill those loopholes, which make us more human!
Now initially, to be kind might be like forcing yourself to be good in certain situations. Although tough, but it’s worth a try, especially when you know that your children might be facing the glory of it someday!
All we need to understand is that we need a start, to get into the cycle. Who knows, but we may slowly evolve into kinder beings! We just need to take cues from the goodness and the random acts of kindness around, acknowledge them and practice them. All we need is to practice it, at least till the time, it doesn’t become a habit.
Now random acts of kindness isn’t all about feeding 100 people or donating lakhs of money to temples or orphanages, but it could be some simpler things too.
Let’s see if we can try with some simple things mentioned here! However, before you begin, create a bucket!
- Yes, the first step is to create a bucket, not a bucket list, but an actual bucket. Choose any spare box, basket, or bucket. Give it an interesting makeover and get going! For every act of goodness, acknowledge and put a strip of paper, mentioning the act. Count your acts at the end of the day. Mind you, it is an addictive practice and will make you feel strangely happy! I have made one and it’s been a week, where both I and my son are adding up to the bucket each day! Like I said, it’s addictive!
- Go through your time-table in a day and figure out what all are the spaces where you can extend gratitude or practice kindness. For e.g. Holding the lift for someone, or saying thank you to that someone, who held it for you. Similarly saying thank you or goodnight to your night watchman at the end of the day, saying a thank you to your maid, driver etc. A mere smile can also be considered as an act of kindness. You have at least tried to make someone feel good, even if it was for a fraction of second. Let the child also see you and he might do the same!
- Try and share a cup of coffee or tea or even your lunch box with someone at work. Tell your child to do the same in school (this might take time, but worth it). Food is a great medium to break ice and make new friends. Who knows, but this simple act of sharing might bring in a good friend!
- Listening is a kind of acknowledgment, an act where the recipient often feels good. When you are all ears to someone’s conversation, you just help someone feel important, heard and a little bit more worthy of his presence. Hence, teaching the value of listening to children, by first listening to them or listening to others (in front of them) will be another act of being considerate. Don’t forget to say a thank you, to that someone who listened to you, including your child! Hearing you is a mark of genuine concern!
- Ask each other about how the day was, asking about both the good and the bad. Let your child see it for both parents and for themselves. Also let them ask the same question to their regular friends. This makes the little ones and also the grown-ups happy, as they know they are eagerly awaited with their news of the day. Also, asking helps people feel worthwhile. It helps to build a strong sense of security and belonging! I can vouch for that because now my child asks me how my day was, post his return from school. Throughout the day, this question is what perks me. I know my kid cares!
- Running errands for colleagues or friends or sometimes a needy, helping someone at work, cooking a meal for someone, sharing things at the time of need, are all valuable acts of kindness. Figure out how you can extend the same to your loved ones or needy ones (like donating clothes, toys or charitable works), in your routine. Tell your kids about these acts and let them also think of ways in which they can help the people around!
- Don’t miss out with the three magic words (sorry, please and thank you). Sometimes, as adults, we are the ones, who often skip on that! Sometimes, saying a thank you to someone, including your child, who endlessly waited for you to get back from work, could perk them up! They will know they are important to you and everything that they do matters to you!
Creating an act into a game often gives an impetus to the mission. So I created this bucket, to make my son get into the drive and thrill of adding a chit, or several chits, into the bucket. He counts every day, with a passion to out win me. Although, for him it’s a game, but I know for me it will add up in a lot more ways than he can think of!
I’m happy as of now because it’s giving good results and it’s making my son consciously look around and focus on all the good things that he does or people do to him! I will definitely share another blog when my bucket is full and you do share when yours is! Till then, keep filing your buckets!