Galatians 5:22-23 lists kindness as one of the fruits of the Spirit that we should develop. In this fast paced world and with all the negative information on television and the internet, it is even more important that we cultivate kindness and compassion in our children.
What are kind acts? Jesus modeled kindness through such acts as healing the blind and eating with sinners. There are those acts that you can do in your neighborhood or community and those that you can do at home. One of the acts of kindness that I have done over the years is to help feed homeless persons, not only during the holidays, but also during other times of the year. Even when I travel, I try to spend time volunteering in some service capacity.
Once I was on a trip to attend a conference in a certain city and arranged for dinner with a friend who lived in that city. After he picked me up and we were driving to the restaurant, I expressed my concern about how many homeless people were in his city as I felt there were many more as compared to other places I had visited. My friend commented that I was the only person he knew who actually noticed homeless persons. I was shocked by his statement.
Parents can cultivate kindness by having their children volunteer to participate in many activities in their community. Cleanups in specific areas of town, mowing the lawn for an elderly neighbor, babysitting for a single parent – these are all acts of kindness and compassion.
At home, parents are role models as children imitate them. Parents should not expect their children to be kind if they are not. Acts of kindness and words of kindness should be a regular part of a family’s daily ritual. These include helping carry in bags of groceries; thanking each other for a thoughtful word or gesture; and assisting with a chore or a task.
As the poem in today’s blog states, kindness and compassion never fail, whether in our communities or in our homes. It is up to parents to nurture and develop those attributes in their children.