I often wonder if kindness is a taught or innate trait. Are we born with kindness and humility, and then after experiences in life, they either grow or die within our souls? Sorry to be so deep on a Tuesday, but I have been pondering this for quite some time.
My six year old is one of the kindest kids you will meet. He collected change for Haiti from his entire preschool. When he came back from the Shriners Circus, he emptied his banks and had my husband help him count the money to donate to the kids with burns. He rescues birds that have fallen out of their nests, turtles who have gotten injured, stray dogs and cats, and gets upset when kids at school are bullied. Recently he asked me to help him organize an effort to collect shoe boxes loaded with treats for kids who were affected by the Alabama tornadoes. This was an entire school effort. He collected 105 shoe boxes for shoe boxes for kids…and the goal was 50! He teaches me lessons everyday…like the shoe boxes that came in with some used things. He noted that maybe the kid who donated the box wanted to participate but his mom didn’t take him to the store, so he gave what he could. He is truly a NICE person. But I don’t feel like we taught him that kind of kindness.
We teach our kids to say “please” and “thank you.” We teach them to write ‘thank you’ notes for any gift that they receive. We teach them that it is not nice to make fun of those who are different, and that everyone has feelings. We teach our kids quite a bit, but how does a six-year-old just know to collect money or spearhead a fundraiser?
My belief is that it is an innate trait; one that is there when a child is born. This trait can either be fostered into something great or can be diffused by the circumstances of life. I don’t feel that my parenting has created his kindness. I help him do what he feels is right (within reason…he would sell my house, if he could, to help kids in need). But I will say that in his 6 years on earth he has taught me valuable lessons and maybe that is the real story here. If we open our hearts and minds to what our kids are teaching us and follow their lead, then they will help us to become better parents and people. Take a look at the world and the world’s issues from a six year old’s view, and solving problems seem so simple. Kids are making a difference all over, and this provides us with a great learning experience.