It’s no surprise that in a world where an innocent social media post can illicit thousands of harsh comments, self preservation above others is considered good business and cutting funding to those who need it most has become routine, that kindness is still very much valued. This is because in our often unkind world, kindness breathes hope and refreshes our spirits. We need it. And we know we need it.
Kindness is at the core of our values at Theatretrain, and in this series of blogs we look at how kindness affects our wellbeing, how it helps us learn, the skills children gain when they practice being kind and why learning to be kind to ourselves is important for mental health.
There is an increasing awareness of how our mental health is affected by kindness. We even have a day where we celebrate kindness – World Kindness Day. We know that something so basic in our human nature as kindness is vital to our happiness and our civilisation. That’s because kindness is powerful. Most of us, if not all, have experienced its magic and the strength and courage it gives us.
One thing we know is that every child, teenager and adult benefits from being kind and receiving kindness. As the saying goes: “It’s one thing to be taught kindness. It’s another thing to be touched by it.”
Kindness isn’t just being nice. It isn’t just about being friendly, considerate and generous either. Kindness is a choice and an action. Being nice is just a state of being, but being kind requires an act of compassion that’s sincere and genuine, thoughtful and caring, patient and tolerant, selfless and gentle.
It shows up in actions: a supportive smile and a wink, a much needed embrace, a helping hand. And in words: an encouraging pep talk, a note of reassurance, a phone call of support, a ‘wooo hoooo’ at a performance. Kindness is often felt more keenly when someone is in a challenging situation or frame of mind, when things seem overwhelming, when everything seems to be going wrong.
Kindness has a transformational quality and one small act can cause a ripple effect. Who hasn’t been touched by someone’s kindness to ourselves or others that we’ve done a kind act in return? Kindness builds and builds. When children are treated kindly, they treat each other kindly. We’ve all most probably seen the effect of a patient kind teacher on the mood of the class. Everyone relaxes and the room seems peaceful, calm and safe.
Kindness has the power to strengthen bonds, create moments and bring out the best of everyone involved. By taking on a mindset of kindness to others and ourselves we can change the world. We can encourage and support our children, and create in them a sense of security and belonging.
Showing our children kindness might be as simple as making sure we are present enough to ask how they feel, cooking their favourite meal at the end of a hard week and making time to play a game. Or it might be something more, such as a reassuring word before a performance, helping them practise their dance steps or making sure their favourite t-shirt is clean for the weekend.
In our next blog we talk about how kindness affects wellbeing. But here are some things to ask yourself and reflect on:
How do I usually show kindness to my children
What kind acts would be effective right now
As a family do we promote kindness
How can I help my child be kind to themselves
Am I kind to myself?