Random or Regular Acts of Kindness

Are some people naturally kind-hearted? Or are kindness and thoughtfulness taught to us when we are children?

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As parents and guardians, we are the first teachers for our children as they learn how to color inside the lines, how to tie their shoes and how to drive a car.

In today’s world, there are countless opportunities for us to provide a lavish lifestyle for our children. The latest electronic gadget like the Xbox 360 or the DSi XL can entice children into becoming “early adopters” at very early ages. Extravagant birthday parties and bar/bat mitzvah celebrations can overshadow the purpose of the commemoration itself. Taking a limousine to the prom can prompt the justification of keeping our children safe in transit. Private dance lessons, sports camps and $200 baseball bats can lure us into thinking that our children “need” these things to succeed in a competitive world.

With all the marketing of toys and gadgets to our young children, how do we balance that with teaching our children about the needs of a community and the joys of giving back?

Does your family join the town-wide cleanup? Do you and your family volunteer at a soup kitchen? Do you help your elderly neighbor shovel the driveway or just stop by with cookies? Do you donate used toys and clothing to a local shelter?

In a world filled with indulgence and material objects, how do we teach our children about kindness and compassion for others? Are random acts of kindness too random today?

Kayla DeWees April 09, 2011 at 09:06 PM
This is such a great question to ponder, particularly after viewing the film "Race to Nowhere" on Monday at Oak Middle School. This film talked about the stress our children are feeling to get into the "right" colleges. Interestingly, community service was mentioned as something our children are doing to make themselves more viable candidates for elite colleges. I think the idea that we are all connected and that we are all responsible for each other is a good place to start. My husband and I returned to a local Unitarian Universalist church to help teach our children this particular value. We need a spiritual community to combat the material age we live in, an age when community service can be viewed as yet another commodity to promote self.


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