Sometimes we all need gentle reminders of that, and I wonder what the world would be like, with more kindness… and less stress.
Last night, @Rick and I had finished dinner, while my almost-7-year-old was busy talking and trying to play with his baby sister — instead of eating. This has been so common lately, I was on the verge of losing patience, as it was getting late, and asked him (as neutrally as possible):
“E, what’s your main job supposed to be right now?”
He instantly replied:
“Being a good, kind human. That’s always my most important job!”
I had to laugh. It’s true.
“Fair enough, sweet boy! And you are being very kind to your sister. Thank you.”
I paused to fully appreciate the truth of that perspective…
I had been about to lose my patience, and therefore also to lose my “kind voice”, because I had an idea of what he “should” be doing, and what that “should” look like, on my desired timeline.
But in fact, he wasn’t doing anything terrible contrary to that; he was actually being a very kind big brother!
And in general, I want him to be a human who takes time to be kind. (There have been plenty of times he hasn’t!)
I want myself to pause and be kind, too.
And I know that when I do, especially with him, the simultaneously desired outcomes (of eating dinner, getting ready for bed, etc.) are much more likely to be reached — and, usually faster than if I lose patience and use a less-than-kind voice that then triggers his resistance.
Having appreciated that reminder of the larger perspective, and reset with laughter, I could tell him in a genuinely kind voice:
“Yes, I do always love for you to be kind; thank you… And, I want to stay kind with you too… So remember that it’s also possible to be a good, kind human AND to eat your dinner at the same time!”
Which made him laugh, and he proceeded to do so.
We went on to have a much more pleasant evening than we would have if I’d been impatient with him, hyper-focused on my own desired outcome rather than on the equally desired bigger picture of being loving and thoughtful in our interactions.
What would the world be like if we all were even just a little more kind?
It’s easier to be genuinely kind when we’re well-resourced, and not exhausted or stressed — which is sadly often harder to come by than we might wish.
But what if we remember the bigger picture of how we want to feel in our relationships?
How much more resourced would we all be, if we were just a little more kind to each other — and to ourselves?
What might that make possible in our lives and communities?
Not aiming for perfection (nor forgetting that having healthy, clear boundaries is likewise vital!), but I do trust we would all feel better — and likely achieve our other goals more easily — with even just a little more kindness and understanding.
Cheers to the wise children who remind us of that!
When do you most appreciate kindness?
When does it feel harder to be kind?
What helps you return to balance when stressed, so being kind comes more easily?