Autumn is in full swing—for many, the leaves are a changin’, the weather is brisk, and the days are growing shorter. We have pumpkins on the brain and Halloween costumes to assemble. As bathing suits are exchanged for cozy sweaters, time on the couch with a good book is sounding more and more inviting. Just as a warm drink can cut the chill in the air, a bit of kindness in our actions can warm another. Our character trait for October reminds us that relationships, our community, are central to who we are—we cannot thrive alone. Kindness opens the door, offers an opportunity for connection over disconnection and tension.
This is all summed up in our definition of kindness: recognizing that relationships are core to who we are becoming, and therefore being tneder, courteous, helpful, forgiving and compassionate towards others and self. Looking for the goodness in all. Being unselfish and generous.
In choosing to offer kindness, we choose to see others as humans—fellow humans. It is our gateway to the other, and in being kind we begin to listen, to be curious. It doesn’t mean we overlook bad behavior, but rather we extend first a consideration that there is more to the story, and approach others with this intention. In other words, Be Nice!
Rudyard Kipling puts it this way, “I always prefer to believe the best of everybody, it save so much trouble.”
To foster character within ourselves and our children, below you will find some questions and activities to promote kindness in your home.
- What does it mean to be kind?
- Go over the definition of kindness (above). Make sure everyone understands it and see how it matches up with your family’s definition.
- Why should we be kind? What about when someone is not kind to you?
- Why do you think people are so often unkind?
- Share something kind that someone did for you. How did it make you feel?
- Think of a time you did something kind for someone. Did you enjoy doing it? Was it challenging?
- What does it mean to give someone “the benefit of the doubt”?
- Make a list of kind things that you can do. How can you show kindness to your family, neighbors, classmates, and/or your community, etc.? Set a goal. Maybe attempt one kind act a day or week. At the month’s end share your experience as a family. Consider keeping it going another month.
- Discuss this quote from Aesop—“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
- Have fun finding quotes about kindness. Post them around your house.
- Make a “Kindness” board. Write down acts of kindness you’ve experienced.
- Teach your kids to KNiT — Here’s how: before speaking (or writing) ask yourself, “Is it Kind? Is it Necessary? and Is it True?” If it does not pass through those three gateways, it probably doesn’t need to be said.
Another simple and cozy (pull out those blankets!) way to begin this month with your child(ren) is to read books that display kindness in action—check our book list HERE!
Another way to keep this character trait of the month top of mind is to print and hang our Kindness poster! Click here to download.
Want more resources? Read Teaching Character Through Literature: Kindness.