Kindness. It's such a simple concept, yet so many people struggle with it. Why? I guess my parents can claim I was raised right because I tend to always look and see the best in people. I flash a smile and strike up a conversation with many strangers a day, and I have no problem giving an encouraging word if it looks like someone needs it. Not only does it feel good to receive kindness, but spreading it feels even better.
I've learned that we all have a judge-y switch in us. Everyone judges in some way even if we don't mean to and that's natural, but it's when you share your judgement (which I've done) with others that you need to take a step back and really look at yourself. When I was teaching, we implemented Covey's The Leader in Me into our school. One of the habits I taught my students and we worked on often was Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood. Such a great habit for kids to learn at a young age. I've learned in my, ahem, 30+ years that you never know what someone else is dealing with. Maybe they just woke up late and it made everything just spiral into a blah day. Maybe they received some sad or bad news, which caused them to behave or lash out with harsh words or actions. Maybe they are just not as friendly as me or you. We've all been there and had those feelings or dealt with others who have.
While teaching I saw kindness daily in my classroom. Students who took the time to actually get to know their classmates and care about others' lives and daily feelings. By giving kindness to my students they learned how to treat others and pass it on. Since becoming a mom I've realized even more how important it is to spread kindness. My kids are always watching and they mimic how I behave, so I try my best to teach them to correct way. I want them to seek the best in others and share their best as well. I want them to "love thy neighbor" (1 Corinthians 10:24) and follow the Golden Rule. Over the Christmas holiday I did 25 Acts of Kindness with the kids and shared on Instagram. Each day they would pull the act out of their Advent Calendar to see what we were going to do that day. Some were very simple. Others were a bit tougher, but I was so proud on December 26th when Cam (my oldest) asked me what our act of kindness was for that day. Mom win!
Recently we were at the playground and there was a young woman on the swings who was singing and so joyful as she glided back and forth. We found swings next to her and she started talking to Cam. He was a bit confused by her speech and the volume of her voice. I was nervous he would comment, like most four year olds would, about her talking funny, etc, but instead he flashed her a huge smile and talked back. My heart swelled. After playing for a while longer we were heading to the car and he stopped, asked me to wait, and ran back to the swings. I saw him waving good-bye to this woman and heard him say bye and wish her a good day. Melt my heart! The kindness he has in his heart makes me prouder than any grade he could receive.
My husband says I caught the kindness bug because after doing the 25 acts of kindness over the holidays I decided I wanted to do more and really spread the word. I put my head together with another blogger and Instagram momma. We came up with the Spread Kindness Confetti Project. You can read all of the details here, but basically each month we share an idea of how so spread kindness. March was donating books to a local Free Little Library or homeless shelter. People can choose to use our idea or create one of their own. Just snap a photo and share it on Instagram using the hashtag #spreadkindnessconfetti. That's it. It's that simple. In our opinion any way to make others feel good and feel loved is a win. It seriously takes as little as a few seconds to share kindness with others. And it doesn't have to cost anything. Something as simple and a smile or a kind word to someone you can see is struggling. If only more people in the world spread a little kindness instead of hate. Imagine what a better world we would live in.
JESSICA KESSLER is the creative mind behind the blog, Secrets of a Stay at Home Mom. A Purdue University grad and former teacher turned SAHM who shares her journey as a mom, diy projects, and everything in between. She is a midwest girl living in the south and enjoys spending sunny days outside with her husband and two kids or relaxing in her sunroom reading a good book. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, or on her blog, Secrets of a Stay at Home Mom. She is a private blogger, but loves making friends, so shoot her a message to be added.