Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Understanding kindness in children

My son is in cub scouts. Since my husband was in scouts and I am a former Girl Scout, we all enjoy getting involved in the pack activities. I like that there are always things to do with the pack, and we are always looking for ways to make it even better for the kids.

One of the key features of being a scout is learning (and understanding) the 12 traits outlined in the Scout Law: A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

I like each of those words for various reasons, but my favorite is,"kind." 

When my son was little, I used to try and catch him in acts of kindness, so that I could specifically praise him for that. Because while kindness is innate, it does need cultivation to be a core personality trait. I think that I did pretty good at that for a few years, but then let that practice slide. So, my son is still kind, but I am not doing enough to reinforce that behavior with him.

Of course, that can easily be fixed. 

I am a firm believer that kindness spreads. I see this in the morning commute when I let a driver into traffic ahead of me - they are more likely to let someone into traffic ahead of them down the road. I see this when I get stopped in the city for directions and take a few minutes to point people in the right direction - when I leave them, I usually hear comments about how nice strangers can still be.

I think we all need more kindness in our lives. But to get there, we need to praise it when we see it.

Do you reinforce your children's kindness? Tell me how in the comments.

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