Are They Kind?

Posted by Heather
In life
15Apr 10

     A few days ago, we were watching the news, and a lady came on to discuss various aspects of parenting.  She talked about how many parents brag about how their kids are ” so smart “, or how amazing their athletic abilities are.  Most of us have heard people telling us how their daughter has the highest mark in a certain class at school, won some award, or skipped a grade.  They may excitedly share how their son is the best soccer player on the team, or how he won a sports scholarship. ( It is natural for parents to be proud of their childrens’ academic and athletic achievements, but there is more )

     The thing that stuck out for me about this lady on the news is that she said she always asks parents, ( after hearing  the aforementioned boasting ) ” but, are they kind ? ”  She said this question generally takes parents aback.  The lady went on to explain that yes, it is wonderful when kids excel in school, or in sports, (or whatever ) but to her, there are far more important things.  What matters most to this woman is that her children are kind and thoughtful towards others – both of which are learned behaviours.  She went on to say that we can’t make our kids be great at certain subjects or activities – they will be good at some things, enjoy some things, and not others – that is pre-programmed to a degree.  However, if we teach them by example from a young age to genuinely care about others, and be kind, now that is an accomplishment to be proud of.  ( it means they will likely grow up to be decent people who treat others with respect and dignity – something that used to be expected and normal, but is now, sadly, a rarity. )

     She told a story of how one of her son’s teachers had asked him,  “Why are you so nice ? “, and he answered, ” My Mom made me be that way “.  She had stopped and thought about it, and realized her son was right.  Again, being nice is a learned behaviour – children see it, keep being reminded of it ( and that it is good and right ) and eventually, it becomes part of who they are.  In my opinion, that is being a good parent – encouraging your children to care about others is vital.

     I think it’s wonderful when parents are proud of their children, and I think they should always support their interests ( as long as they aren’t hurting anyone, obviously ) and never try and steer them in a direction that they really don’t want to go.  Every child is an individual, and they deserve to be encouraged to express themselves accordingly.  Just because you did well in a certain class doesn’t mean your son must follow suit.  He is not you – let him be who he is.  If your daughter gets a weird haircut or wears what you consider bizarre clothes, so what ?  That’s all cosmetic and superficial in the big scheme of things.  If you brought them up properly, they’ll be good kids ( and great adults one day ) regardless of what they choose to wear.

     So, next time you hear a parent going on and on about all the things their kids have ” done ” – why not ask them, “Are they kind ? ”  If the answer is ” Yes “, then the parent should be proud of themselves for caring enough to teach things of real value in this world.  We could certainly use a lot more kindness in today’s society.

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