School teacher and family play important roles
“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.”
Can you believe what she's wearing? Don't you think he's fat? Why would anyone want to be friends with her? He's ugly. Commenting on someone like this or saying things even worse are often very common in children and adults alike. Living in a digital age where pictures and posting online can gather nearly instant and anonymous comments from total strangers and acquaintances alike, such comments can be rude and hurtful. Therefore, it is more important that parents teach children to be kind to others from an early age.
What is kindness?
Kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, welcoming, kind-hearted, and considerate. Showing affection to a person, being polite and gentle in nature, exuding warmth, being concerned, and caring for are the things that blend with kindness. To some kindness connotes naivety or weakness however, that is not the case. Nobody can be forced to do things that they are not willing to do because then they will end up not fulfilling goals or disliking it. Kindness is a wonderful quality, not only to one who indulges in an act of kindness but also to the one who receives it.
How teachers can encourage kindness in kids
♦ The act of kindness isn't just a matter of ultimately receiving more kindness in return or even an act of self-sacrifice and selflessness.
♦ One of the first steps to teach a child to be kind is to model kindness. Children tend to model the behavior of adults that they see around them. This requires a measure of conscious intention on the part of educators to play their part totally. If students watch a teacher being kind, they will emulate that kindness in their own lives. Of course, this is easier said than done.
♦ Talking to students about what they think it means to be kind and giving them plenty of opportunities to show kindness.
♦ Setting goals for students to help them reflect on their actions and identify their acts of kindness.
How parents can encourage kindness in kids
♦ Teaching and reminding children to be empathetic and asking children to be mindful about how they speak to someone. Children should be encouraged to reflect on how it would feel if they found out that they were being made fun of for not being able to solve small problems. Would they want someone to praise them for their efforts or criticize them for not doing something right?
♦ Teaching empathy to children is a key part of teaching kindness. It is also a good idea to get children into the habit of being friendly and finding something nice to say to someone. Ensuring children inculcate habits like wishing someone a good day, thanking a waiter at a restaurant, or complimenting their mother for organizing the most perfect birthday party.
♦ A person has to be considerate and behave like they want to instill the same manners in their children. Being kind should be second nature and should come naturally. Teaching children good manners, being kind to others equally, and speaking to people pleasantly.
♦ Disciplining a child with love and kindness will go a long way. Children who are treated with kindness and love grow up to be kind, loving and grateful adults.
Encouraging kindness in a child leads to feeling better not only about the world they live in but also about themselves. That's the thing about raising a kind child – not only will kindness lift a child and the others around them, but it will also help them grow to be a happy and loving person.
(The author is a Headmistress of Primary in Jasudben ML School)