It’s about that time of year when our thoughts turn to Christmas and goodwill to all men. It’s also a favourite time of year for most children for obvious reasons. Traditionally we also seem to relax a little, cut the kids a bit more slack and generally try to be nicer to each other.
I would like to suggest that we also take some time to consider the whole idea of kindness. We might think of kindness as being generous of spirit, being good to another, supporting and nurturing them. Often people have this strange idea that children need to be taught some harsh lessons about the reality of life. You often hear, for example, that life is unkind and that kids should learn that sooner rather than later.
Well I’d like you to stop and consider seriously “why should they?” What is it that makes us want to impose something we didn’t like upon another person especially our children? Why should we want to make them cynical and jaundiced about the world? Shouldn’t we want the opposite for our kids? A fair world, a just society, a kinder society?
We pretty much accept that children learn by example. In fact we spend a lot of time instilling into them how they should set a good example to others especially their younger compatriots or siblings. But what about the example that we set them? Expecting them to espouse values that we don’t hold ourselves would be a little hypocritical. It is rather like hitting a child for being naughty and then telling them that hitting is bad when they do it to another.
In which case, why not try to show your children a little more kindness and consideration than you already do. Nurture their dreams and aspirations and allow them to believe in the magic of Christmas or whatever other fantastical worlds of adventure they inhabit. There is no cost attached to being nice and really it’s almost impossible to spoil a child with love and affection, in fact they thrive on it.
Take some time out to consider your own values, your own hard-won ideals and also the things that perhaps you wanted to achieve. Everyone has or had dreams and isn’t it nice when someone else believes in them and in you. That in itself is kindness, the kindness of not raining on someone else’s parade and giving them the space to breath with their own imagination and aspirations. Maybe they will make it and maybe they won’t but isn’t it also about the journey that shapes a person and not just about the destination? Do what you can to make that journey little nicer, a little more comfortable and enjoyable.
Think about kindness not just as a thing you do because it’s Christmas. Think about it as a way of life, an attitude that you can pass on to your children and that they will grow up to pass onto theirs. That’s a good thought for the season of goodwill.
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Guest Blog by David Evans Bailey
David Evans Bailey has an MA in Digital Media Art. He taught ICT and Photography at Secondary School level for several years as well as being involved in many theatrical and other endeavours. His background is an IT professional.