So excited to bring you Monica for this week's Parenthood and Kindness series. I love her perspective on kindness as a trait of innocence. It's such a powerful observation; one that rings true and a message I will carry with me for a lifetime. Thank you, Monica, for being so perceptive during our conversation and for bringing such a powerful outlook on why kindness should always be given for free.
Tells us the kindest thing you’ve ever experienced as a parent?
The kindest thing that stands out most for me took place during my pregnancy with my first child. I felt kindness from so many different people, including total strangers. People were suddenly so much kinder; opening doors, giving compliments, offering advice, sharing words of encouragement and even feeding me! I’ll never forget the day I walked into my school cafeteria (I was a teacher back then) to find a surprise baby shower. It really was so unexpected and I found it to be one of the kindest things an expecting mom could experience. Not because of the gifts, but just because they took the time to show they cared..
Who/what inspires you to be kind? Explain why they/it inspires you to do so
I would have to say my family inspires me to be kind. From my own parents, who’ve always led by example, to my own children who serve as daily reminder of why kindness is so important. Till this day, my parents are probably two of the kindest people I know. From them I’ve learned that a little bit of kindness can go a long way, even in situations when others are not so kind to you. As for my kids, their innocent little hearts are a daily reminder of the kind world they deserve to live in. By being kinder myself, I hope to keep that innocence alive for them.
It’s important to be kind to others, but it’s just as important to be kind to yourself. What do you do (or plan on doing) to be kind to yourself (either as a mother, as a professional, or as a woman)?
I’m learning to be kinder to myself by allowing myself grace on days when I don’t have it all together. I’m learning to take a step back and not let guilt set in for all the things that I should have accomplished today but didn’t. I’m also learning that taking a ‘ME’ day (when I leave the husband in charge and take a day away from the kids) is okay, and sometimes very needed. I take ‘ME’ days every now and then but I’m planning to schedule them more frequently, at least a couple of times a month
It’s often said that kindness is easier said than done. As a parent, what valuable advice can you give for showing kindness to others (especially to those who may not seem like they want or deserve it)?
I think the most important thing I always try to remember is to treat others the way I would want to be treated myself. No one is perfect and on some days we might not even deserve the kindness of others, but wouldn’t we feel much better if someone showed us a little kindness on our toughest days?
As a parent, what does kindness mean to you?
As a parent, kindness means innocence. I say that because I believe that when one is truly kind to another that kindness comes with innocent intentions. We’re not looking for something in return for our kindness. Our kindness is coming from a good place, without judgment, without expectations. That’s the innocence I see in my children when they show kindness to each other and it’s the kind of kindness that I hope they’ll continue to show others as they grow.
What lesson do you want your kids to learn about kindness?
I want them to learn that kindness is something we give without expecting something in return. I want my children to learn that showing kindness is important even when others are not kind to us. I want them to learn that their own kindness cannot only bring joy to others but that it can bring them joy as well. I want them to also learn that their kindness can make a difference and that no matter how small an act of kindness is, it can mean a lot to someone else. Sometimes a simple smile, a thank you or even holding a door open is enough to make a difference and shouldn’t be taken for granted