Random Acts of Kindness Define Who We Really Are

Watching the news, watching the divisiveness caused by the elections and watching interactions in our daily lives, we realize we are living in very scary times—[a]nd everything we see and experience is amplified in the eyes of our children.

Children learn by watching adults. According to Love to Know, babies and toddlers learn by observing adults, even when we aren’t intentionally trying to teach them anything. Just watch as the toddler picks up any object and pretends to talk on it just like their parents are talking on their phone. You can teach your child to mimic loving behavior by being affectionate and making sure you accept their affection when they are ready. At the same time, if the adult cusses or throws things, watch how the child is quick to imitate. Preschool years are when children make a big jump in language, imitating the way their adults talk and the words they use, meaning these kids pick up on our tone of voice and the use of grammar. This is also the time they learn what to eat, so if parents routinely eat a variety of healthy foods, so will the kids, and, on the other hand, if adults eat junk food and fast food, this instills that pattern of eating with the child.

Adults can create positive modeling behaviors in kids. Read[ing] often to your child and let[ting] your child see you reading […] make reading a healthy and normal part of everyday life. Use polite words and speak kindly to others in front of the kids. Let your children see you doing the chores you expect them to do. Explain the consequences when you make a mistake so the child sees the results of negative behaviors. If the parent ends up doing good deeds, watch the kids starting to do good deeds.

You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching, love like you’ll never be hurt, sing like there’s nobody listening, and live like it’s heaven on earth.

William Purkey, public school teacher

[According to Happify Daily], small acts of kindness […] like leaving a meal for a homeless person or paying off a stranger’s layaway balance at Kmart start trends, with more people getting in on the act because they are such feel-good stories. The benefactors are happy to have done a good deed, and the recipients are pleased to have been given a small but meaningful helping hand. [Studies have shown that] recipients of kindness want to keep paying it forward, and a single act of kindness inspires more acts of generosity; […] this chain of altruism [is called] “upstream reciprocity.” So the next time you drop a quarter into an expired parking meter, there is a good chance the recipient of that small act of kindness will be inspired to do a kind act for someone else, and on and on.

[James Fowler, a professor at the University of California-San Diego], says that since humans often mimic behavior they see in the media, like generosity, they become inspired to be generous on their own, often starting their own chain of giving. That is why role models like sports figures, politicians, movie stars and rock stars can inspire a wave of giving. [Conversely], these same role models who give off negative vibes can have an adverse effect on our […] kindness to others.

[Former NBA star Derek Anderson], one such celebrity for the positive, […] started the Stamina Foundation, which is teaching young adults how to [perform] acts of kindness. Last month, he held his acts-of-kindness gala at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, [perhaps] the best place on earth to hold this event, [considering] Muhammad Ali had such an influence on the youth of America.

[Y]ou don’t have to be famous to set an example of kindness. CBS News reports about Jesse Frank in Las Vegas, who lived on the streets in Houston before joining the Air Force. As an active airman, he has started […] B-Kind, [an] organization where he and his family help a homeless person each month […] with [support] from local businesses like the barbershop, eye doctor and dentist. […]

If you can’t come up with your own idea [for] an act of kindness, there are plenty of nonprofits [to which] you can donate. […] At Random Acts, your donations provide laptops to hardworking students, funding for dental supplies and […] flea medication for pet shelters, [among other causes]. Even in […] the American Red Cross, you can donate blood and money to help people you don’t know in the path of Hurricane Matthew. […]

Random acts of kindness come in all forms. Just giving someone an unsolicited compliment today will put a smile on both of your faces. Teaching a stranger how to tie his tie or bringing lunch to a neighbor coming out of the hospital brightens [the day for both of you]. Thanking a police officer or firefighter for their service, […] picking up the trash in a public park, or offering to babysit for a single mom just feels right. If we show compassion, our kids will show compassion. What we give to others in our lifetime defines who we really are.

Never forget—our kids are always watching us.

Original article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marc-joseph/random-acts-of-kindness-d_b_12755834.html

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