When interacting or observing children I find it interesting to note the spectrum of kindness practised in everyday scenarios.
Sibling interaction is a great one. I watch Immy insist on “Melly one” every time I hand her something, a treat for example. I am yet to witness her either consuming her share without her sister in her mind or worse, scoffing her sisters share sneakily!. Immy will be 2 years old shortly. Is this mimicking behaviour, conditioned or genuine kindness and a sense of fairness?
Can we nurture kindness? I believe so…
I watched a little girl on Saturday come screaming and howling to her mother that her sister had stomped on her foot. By the noise she was making I was tempted to suggest it could be fractured but kept my distance as I witnessed her mother tell her to be quiet and the reason for the incident was karma due to this approx. 9 yr old child (I guess) calling her mother something I will not repeat, earlier.
An interesting response to her child to say the least, I then watched as the ‘culprit’ (approx. 7 years old) approached the table to have her say. I noted the adult in the scenario did not really intervene as the two girls argued it out as to why they had had such an altercation. Both marched off in opposite directions and the mother resumed tapping away on her phone. Maybe she herself was tired, lacked communication to resolve conflict or was embarrassed maybe. I am not judging her, simply observing.
It led me to wonder about the implications of not practicing sympathy or more so, empathy when amongst children navigating through relationships. Suppose we carried ourselves in a way that did not give examples of kindness. No everyday occurrences such as petting a dog, or making a baby giggle, or picking something up when a stranger with a heavy load drops an item. Little things that could be instinctual or learnt behaviours what do you think? Are such behaviours natural in our human makeup?
In fact I also got to thinking about adults practicing the art of kindness through empathy as a way to achieve intentional outcomes for both parties. Particularly for individuals who are renowned for being cantankerous I personally enjoy the challenge. I see such challenges as a win win situation if successful. It costs me nothing to be friendly, generous and considerate. Or does it?…
Does kindness mirror kindness?
Not always I am sure but often I believe it does. Give it a try!
One thing to note though, being kind and being taken advantage of are two very different things. It is not beneficial for either party should one decide to use kindness as an invitation to take unfair advantage of someone. This is where boundaries can become blurred and from personal experience we must have our own limits as to when we feel someone is overstepping and can comfortably and assertively refute such efforts. Something for me to personally work on myself.
However I will remain on team kindness despite its hurdles and dilemmas. For me kindness wins the short and the long race.
(Photo credit: Rachel Sherlock Photography)