What hopes do you have for your children?
I know some people want particular things for their children; they want them to grow up to be doctors or high flyers in a particular career. I always thought I just want my children to be happy, but as they go out more and more into the world on their own I’m realising that, actually, I just hope for them to be kind.
I want them to be happy too, of course I do, but really that will most likely come as part and parcel of them being kind.
There’s a Roald Dahl quote that I really love that says, “I think probably kindness is my number one attribute in a human being. I’ll put it before any of the things like courage or bravery or generosity or anything else … Kindness – that simple word. To be kind – it covers everything, to my mind. If you’re kind that’s it”
If you’re kind that’s it.
It says it all really. If you’re kind, all those other positive traits will most likely follow. It just all starts with kindness.
I think that we’re all born with a natural instinct to be kind. A recent study at the University of Washington actually found that even at 19 months old children will give a tasty snack to a stranger they think needs it. Even when they’re hungry themselves.
So as adults, we just need to nurture these instincts in our children.
We need to show them kindness.
They need to see us being kind to our friends and just as kind to strangers.
We need to talk to them, often, about how important it is to be kind and point out all the opportunities we have each day to show kindness to other people.
I definitely believe that kindness has a ripple effect.
When you do something kind for someone else, chances are they’ll carry that with them through their day. And they’ll be more likely to pay it forward, to do something nice for someone else. And it goes on and on. A gentle wave of kindness.
And that would make anyone feel happy wouldn’t it?