Teaching Kindness and compassion; stealing candy from a baby
I’ve been working a lot lately Teaching Kindness and compassion. Trust me when I tell you that I’ve done the research on How To Teach Your Kid Kindness. I’ve searched it on Pinterest. I’ve Googled. I’ve read Blogs.
They almost had me sold on How To Teach Your Kid Kindness for Dummies and Teach your kids kindness in 10 days or less. Everyone claiming they have the real way to show your kids how to be kind. Truth is, all kids work differently. Truth beyond that…all parents work differently.
So I decided I was going to do it my way (like usual) and I was just going to show my kids kindness in order to teach them kindness. I like the simple approach.
It’s funny, this thing we call life. It almost always gives us the things we need when we need them the most. And lessons almost always show up just as we are teaching.
So Off to the St. Patricks Day Parade in Chelan
Everyone knows the biggest reason kids love parades….candy no doubt. Whether it’s toostie rolls, smarties, or dum-dum suckers….kids just leave all inhibitions on the curb and race off to that one piece of candy as if it was the only thing going to save them.
The Juniors and I were enjoying a day out of the house. Surrounding ourselves in the community that we still feel like strangers in but are pushing ourself to get out more. I’m bundled up in a scarf and winter coat when most are in jackets. Because i’ve been sick, not just because I like to make a fashion statement. This could very well explain some looks i received now that i’m thinking about it.
We said hello to the elderly couple standing to the left of us. I tried to nudge the Juniors into the small group of anxiously-awaiting-their-next-sugar-rush kids. I smiled at the couple to our right that had two Jr. High aged boys. Stopping for moment to recgonize that maybe in a few years we will be them. Our boys will be older, they’ll look bored that we’re at the parade, but we’ll all stand there because it’s “what we do” on a day like today.
As the parade continues to go by….dog after dog after green painted dog. They were pretty cute, and some so ugly they couldn’t be anything other than cute. Candy is being flung into the air every few minutes and the mad scrambles would begin again and again.
But I kept feeling myself stand back and watch…
I saw our two boys. Shoulder to shoulder. The candy would fly and they’d scan to see which child was going after which piece…and the straggler pieces of candy, the one that goes over someones head, or through their legs. That was the piece our kids would go for. And if there were no straggler pieces…they’d wait.
Now I get that we all have different approaches to everything in life. Some are go getters. Some trample over others to get ahead. Some wait in the background to be noticed. Some of us just wait for the right time.
But the thing that is sticking with me most is those two older boys to the right of us. Time after time candy would land at the feet of a little kid and there must be a trance that takes over little kids when is comes to candy thrown at their heads. It must cause their reflexes to stall out just long enough for someone older to come in and snag it, before they even know what has happened. Time and time again, the older boys would swipe it almost out of the childs grip. That darn mini trance puts those poor youngins at such a disadvantage. I kept looking to the mother, trying to peer into her eyes to see if she is seeing this, noticing this, comprehending what i am in this very moment.
There was a quick moment when we locked eyes and then an even quicker cold shift away.
I’m not going to lie, it took my breath away slightly. Just moments ago I had placed myself in their shoes, seeing ourselves in them. And it ached inside because I never want to be in a place where I ignore another humans feelings, no matter the cause.
Yes I want our children to go after what they want in life and to pursue it with all that they have. But I believe they can do it kindly, and without stealing the light away from another or shoving another under a bus. I even believe they can get what they want in life AND more by being selfless. Like the little 7 year old that also saw what was happening and he began sharing the candy he was collecting with the younger ones who weren’t fast enough to beat the generation older then themselves.
Today only imprinted more of a need to show my kids how to give kindness. So I do little things. Whether it’s taping a few quarters on the newspaper or vending machines outside the store. Or taping a bag of popcorn on the Redbox. Helping an elderly lady with her cart. Complimenting a stranger on something about them. Letting someone in front of me in line. Leaving the front parking spot for the next person. Or just saying Hello and asking how someone is. We do kindness, and we try to do it a lot. The world has enough evil in it that we don’t need to add to it.
“It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.”