The Manner of Random Acts of Kindness
The last week of February was Random Acts of Kindness week. How fantastic is that? Where manners are concerned, everyday could be a Random Act of Kindness day because that’s simply what manners are about. Personally, I think people have started shying away from traditional etiquette because it seems like it’s something we “have to do."
What if manners were just something we did because we wanted to? To be kind, in a way that’s totally random! “Manners” comes from the Latin root of the word Manus, which means “of the hand.” So really, manners are about how we handle people.
As we look at raising a gracious generation, teaching our children the spirit of The Random Act of Kindness is a gift we can give. More importantly, modeling the behavior will give them a clear picture of what it means to live with a gracious and kind spirit that isn’t planned or scheduled.
Here are a few ideas that don’t cost any money but are worth a million where raising a gracious generation is considered:
Siblings can supply the perfect opportunity to practice using kind words. Apologies, compliments, and other statements of appreciation will improve their relationships and give many chances to apply what they’ve learned. If they can be taught kindness to those they are with on a regular basis, gracious interaction with others will soon be a part of their normal thought process. Encourage your children to say “random” nice things to each other... not just when one has been randomly hit in the face with a ball.
Our homes are the perfect places to teach, model, and practice acts of kindness. Honestly, there are times as a wife and mother that I get frustrated with situations, but I have learned that my attitude sets the tone for the rest of my family. If I am short with my girls, they become agitated. When we slow down and demonstrate patience, it diffuses the tension and frustration. This means at home, or even when the checker at my neighborhood market is extra slow, little eyes are watching and taking note.
In many ways, thinking of others is a learned skill. We can’t just tell our children to look beyond themselves and expect that it will happen. We have to give them opportunities to do so. If our children are not raised thinking about the needs of others, chances are they will not become adults who think of others. As parents we can feel guilty taking time away from our children to help others. However, modeling service and giving children an opportunity to participate teaches your children one of life’s greatest lessons—the joy of serving others.
“How can we expect our children to know and experience the joy of giving unless we teach them that the greater pleasure in life lies in the art of giving rather than receiving.” — James Cash Penny
Mindy Lockard is the founder of Mindy Lockard's Gracious Living which includes a daily blog, trainings for colleges/universities, government agencies, and private companies. Mindy is a freelance contributor for Fox 12 Oregon, Crane & Co.'s The Crane Insider, Stationery Trends magazine's column "What's Write" and many other web and print publications. To learn more about Mindy Lockard you can find her on twitter: @TheGraciousGirl facebook: The Gracious Girl or on the web www.MindyLockard.com.