Have you noticed a change in society in recent years? Less compassion, less patience, less grace, less tolerance, and less kindness? At first, following the COVID lockdown era, I thought and read a lot about “compassion fatigue.” Now that we’re years out from COVID, research states that “we,” aka society, are facing an 8-10 year mental health fallout from the lockdown to return to the state of mental health in the US as of March 2020 (which was already in a crisis state), I’m realizing the broader impact of “compassion fatigue.”
November 13th is World Kindness Day, and I’d like to propose that we, as a mom community, take some action steps with our children to help build kindness in our respective communities.
A study published in 2019 and referenced in the Harvard Health Blog found that being kind to ourselves, strangers, and even observing others’ acts of kindness for seven days boosted self-happiness. We know that people often get more joy from giving than receiving and that we need to fill our own cup before we can fill anyone else’s.
What if we lead with compassion and seek to understand instead of judge?
Shifting our internal observations to focus on the good rather than what’s wrong builds a positive perspective, which lends itself to assuming good intentions. Older children will likely understand these concepts more easily; however how do we teach our young children to lead with kindness and compassion?
Here are some ideas to celebrate World Kindness Day and incorporate into your child’s daily routine.
- Thank you notes. Write a simple thank you note or drawing for the postman/woman, the garbage collector, a janitor in your child’s school, a teacher, a friend, or a service provider.
- Positive notes/affirmations. Write inspirational quotes and affirmations, or create art with inspirational images and leave them in random locations like the grocery store shelf, on a peer’s desk at school, in a neighbor’s mailbox, on the counter at the gas station, etc.
- Create kindness rocks. Paint bright-colored rocks and leave them in public spaces that will bring joy to others as they walk.
- Create a kindness chain in your home. Any time an act of kindness is observed, write it on a strip of paper and add it to the chain.
- Everyday acts of kindness using manners such as “please” and “thank you,” offering your seat to an elderly or disabled person, pregnant woman, etc., holding the door for the person behind you, saying, “Excuse me,” ask, “are you okay?” if someone looks down or injured are just as important as the activities above.
- Engage in an act of service such as volunteering at a soup kitchen, serving Thanksgiving at a shelter, volunteer at an animal shelter, visiting a nursing home and playing a game with residents or leaving pictures/cards for them, picking up trash around your neighborhood or an area in need, etc. If you Google “volunteer opportunities near me,” you will find various options and can scroll to find something that fits your family well.