Why Kindness Matters More Than Ever
Kindness really does make the world go round. The smallest words from someone else can completely change your outlook on the day. Founder of Daddilife, Han-Son, details his encounter with kindness, why it matters and how we can teach our children to grow up kind.
A Moment of Desperation
You’re standing in the shop at some unsociable hour, buying something essential. Could be the baby’s milk or a pack of disposable nappies. You can't complain about your wife's forgetfulness. She asked you to get this days ago, but busy with work, you forgot. Which is why you’re here, haunting the twenty-four hour shop when you’d rather be at home in bed. Asleep.
You approach the cashier, sensing the emptiness of the shop, the ever present big brother, CCTV and noticing signs saying that all cash is under time lock. The cashier, a fellow around the same age as yourself, notes your purchase and gives the eye roll.
‘New baby? Oh, you’re going through the rough part, I can see that.
So, he’s obviously noted the size/age which the baby is, judging by the product. He rings up the purchase and gives a huge smile.
‘First baby?’ he asks. I nod. ‘I’ll let you in on a little secret.’ He lowers his voice conspiratorially. ‘It really does get better. When Junior starts sleeping through the night, you’ve got it made.’
Seeing The Light
Do you know what happens? In spite of the dark, early morning hour, it seems the sun is already out. My mood lightens and my heart gladdens. There really is a light at the end of a tunnel. All because someone out there reached out and showed a little kindness and understanding. That’s all it took.
‘I’ve been there. Seen it all. Best of luck, mate,’ he says as I leave. I give him the thumbs up. The encounter has cheered me immensely and this chap probably doesn’t even know how much he’s helped.
The Power Of Words
Words are strange things. They have the power to kill and the power to heal. The nicest thing that any of us can ever do for another can be just to reach out and share a comforting word when it’s needed. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to get you back in the game when everything seems bleak.
How Times Have Changed
Life is tough today for the parents of youngsters, in spite of all the modern baby-care facilities and baby gadgets. Families are smaller. Years ago, families tended to gather together in multi-generational groups, if not in the same house, then in the same street or area. So there were always aunties and grannies around to lend a helping hand when things got tough. The child raising season can be one of the loneliest periods in a person’s life, nowadays. That’s why it’s so important that people should reach out and encourage each other along the way. And dads, being more hands on than ever, need that encouragement too.
How Can We Develop More Kindness In Ourselves
- Have you noticed how women support each other? They have this almost invisible network, sharing lots of tips. I’d love to see more dads’ groups set up, This would be a great chance for new dads to learn from the more experienced ones. Finding these dad connections through doing more hobbies is a great start. Where physical meet ups aren’t possible, even Whatsapp Dads Groups can be a great start.
- Remember a time when you couldn’t stand your parents and blamed them for practically everything that was wrong in your life? Then you became a parent and suddenly, everything made sense. You understood what your mother and father went through to have you and why your dad worried about you staying out late. That’s a major life lesson and our kids won’t understand for years. Keep it in mind and remember to be patient with the kids when they act like they know it all. They’ll understand one day.
- We can be most unkind to the ones who are closet to us. If you got a major shock when your kids were born, imagine what it was like for your partner. She had physical as well as emotional stress to deal with. Keep that in mind when the two of you interact. Afterall, you don’t want a lack to kindness to start a divorce process.
- Some dads are hands on, others not so much. But whatever type of parenting you practise, be ready to reach out and share. Your experiences can help others.
Tips For Teaching Thoughtfulness to Kids
- Remember to teach the kids, as they grow up, not to look away when they notice someone else in trouble. But see what they can do to help. Even if it’s only a kind word.
- Tell them to put themselves in the other person’s shoes and try to feel what they’re feeling.
- Explain that they shouldn’t judge others. But remember that even if they’re not facing problems now, they may do so someday. If they reach out to support someone through difficulties, hopefully someone will do the same for them when the time comes.
- Teach them not to be afraid to reach out to others. Always stress that kindness costs nothing.
- Not everyone accepts kindness graciously, so do prepare them for that. Teach them to be a little discerning about different situations.
I intend to teach the value of kindness to Junior and any brother or sister of his who might come along in the future. I want to pass it on to everyone I meet, too. Always make time to think of what others are going through and don’t be afraid to speak an encouraging word to your fellow dad, mum or anyone else who needs it. It’ll make the world a happier a place and you’ll be glad you did. Better still, make it a Thoughtful Friday every week.
Here's how you can make your Kindness Pledge...