October 25, 2016

Kindness is Not Perfection

So thankful for Kendall's words about kindness this week. Her insights on being kind, not just to others, but to herself is such a great reminder for us parents! However, what struck me the most about our conversation is this notion of perfection. Oftentimes, kindness is misconstrued as this neat little gift we must give to others--tied up in a bow with the most elegant ribbon. Kendall shows us this isn't necessarily so; that kindness shouldn't be a way to perfection, but rather a path to grace and humility.

Tells us the kindest thing you’ve ever experienced as a parent.
Every time I receive a thoughtful card or message or the occasional just because gift from my mother-in-law or my own family showing that they care and they notice all that I do for my family.

Who/what inspires you to be kind? Explain why they/it inspires you to do so
The world inspires me to be kind.  There's so much negativity, hatred, abuse, and struggle in the world - whether my neighborhood or the broader society - and I believe kindness stems from humility while spreading love and joy.  All of these things I believe the world needs more of.  

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 continue working on ways to express myself as a mother, wife, and woman.  I do my best to take time for myself daily to pursue goals, be creative, and care for my body.  At times, I will even carve out time for myself just to be, leaving Hun to care for the children alone.

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 believe in extending kindness no matter what.  I believe that kindness is not only preceded by humility, but also grace.  By expressing kindness to myself and my family, I'm passing along this belief in kindness towards others.  I'm not perfect and striving for perfection doesn't aid me in being kind, so I leave that behind more often than not.  I also believe that my wanting to be kind towards others doesn't mean that someone's unwillingness or inability to receive that kindness is an affront to my efforts.  In other words, being kind to others is not a competition, nor is it about acceptance from others.  Kindness comes from the heart.

As a parent, what does kindness mean to you?
Kindness is sharing, giving, listening, supporting, and loving others where they are.  Sometimes that might be more difficult than others, yet that difficulty isn't a reason to not express kindness.  Again, kindness is also humility and grace.  It's knowing and being willing to admit mistakes, work to correct them, and move forward.  It's also recognizing that my position isn't better or worse than anyone else, and vice versa.  Kindness is love and honor, dignity, and respect.

What lesson do you want your kids to learn about kindness?
I want my children to learn all these things about kindness.  I also want them to see that kindness towards self is just as important as kindness towards others.  I want my children to believe for themselves that kindness is a way to get through life amicably with others.  Kindness can happen even as they strive for their definition of greatness.

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