Raising a Global Citizen: K is for Kindness
I’m glad to be part of the series the ABC of Raising Global Citizens. It started 1st and will continue to June 26th 2015 and there will be a post for each letter of the alphabet. The Creative World of Varya kicked off the series with a wonderful post, “A is for Adventure”.
When I think about what a global citizen I think of a kind person who understands others, is curious and appreciative of other people’s points of view and enjoys the world and its differences. That’s why I chose K for Kindness for my piece in this series.
Kindness is not a subject that is taught at school, but it’s definitely something that kids need to know about. Kids are like sponges and they learn every minute of every day. The best way to teach kindness is to talk about it, to show it and to do it.
The kinder and more thoughtful a person is, the more kindness he can find in other people. Kindness enriches our life; with kindness mysterious things become clear, difficult things become easy and dull things become cheerful. Leo Tolstoy
Talk about it
Discuss what kindness it. There are many good starting points: a book you read, a cartoon they watched, a situation that actually happened to you or that you witnessed. Talk about what is kind and what is not. Why is it kind or not?
Kindness requires looking at something from many points of view and not just your own, it’s sometimes a hard concept for the kids to grasp. Be specific when you are telling the child to look at what happened from different perspectives: Do you think it’s kind? Will your friend think it’ kind? Will your mother, teacher, sibling, etc. think so?
It does not have to be a complex issue. With younger kids many topics can be a jumping point: sharing, helping, and asking nicely – all of it can be looked at from the kindness perspective.
I read in one book about the kindness glasses. It works wells with younger kids. Ask them to put their kindness glasses on and look at the situation again.
Children learn by example, and we as parents are a huge example for them, so are their teachers, friends, people they come in contact often, and even cartoons – basically the environment around them.
Draw their attention to the acts of kindness. There are so many kind things happening around us – pay attention to them, praise them and see if that is something that can be adopted for you and your child.
For example a simple thing like a person walking a dog can be a kindness conversation starter. Is it kind for the owner to walk with the dog? Why? Should we take care of the animals and pets? Why? If you have pets, what would be a kind thing to do for them (feed them, play with them, walk with them, etc.).
Practice makes perfect. Practice kindness.
It’ hard to give a one answer about how to practice kindness – kindness can be so different and can take so many shapes. But if you put your mind to it and discuss with your children what kindness is for them, let them choose what they would like to practice this day, week, and month and let them do it – you will be practicing kindness.
There is no cookie, reward or point that they get at the end – practice kindness just for its own sake. You will see how much the kids love it.
As your children grow up and as you discover and explore the world beyond their immediate surroundings, keep talking, showing and doing: kindness around the world takes many shapes and learning what kindness is for a person across the world form you can be exhilarating.
If your child has a pen pal – it might be a great topic and even project for them to do. Decide and plan on their acts of kindness and then share with their pen-pal.
There are many projects that older kids can participate in that can make an influence on the world.
Kindness has helped a lot in fostering an appreciation for different languages with my children.
When my daughter asked me why the lady I talked to has a funny accent, we talked about accents and how great it is that that person spoke another language, not only English. Approaching this from the kindness perspective made her find value in other people’s accents.
Listening to music in different languages encourages her to experience a variety of melodies and repeat the words that she might not know but that give her the feel for that language.
For me one of the big one recently was being kind to my kids and allow them time to express themselves in English or Russian without prompting, because they want to find the words on their own, even if it feels slow to me and like my help is needed. When they find the correct word on their own it’s so much more precious and memorable to them.
I am sure there are so many more facets to kindness and raising a global citizen as kindness lets our kids be better in every way.
I wanted to provide some resource about teaching kids about kindness. If you google this – you will come up with a lot of options. Here are some that I found interesting:
Books that Teach about Kindness (separates the books by ages)
On Pinterest: Books about Kindness
Kindness Awareness and Projects:
Pinterest: Kindness Projects
Pinterest: Kindness Projects for Kids and you
From MKB bloggers:
In Many Languages:
– English Language (Main) : Kindness
– Afrikaans Language : liefde
– Albanian Language : dashamirÃ«si
– Arabic Language : لطف
– Catalan Language : bondat
– Chinese (Simplified) Language : 仁慈
– Croatian Language : ljubaznost
– Czech Language : laskavost
– Danish Language : venlighed
– Dutch Language : vriendelijkheid
– Estonian Language : lahkus
– Filipino Language : kagandahang-loob
– Galician Language : bondade
– Georgian Language : სიკეთე
– German Language : Freundlichkeit
– Greek Language : ÎºÎ±Î»Î¿ÏƒÏÎ½Î·
– Haitian Creole Language : aji byen
– Hebrew Language : חסד
– Hindi Language : दयालुता
– Indonesian Language : kebaikan
– Italian Language : gentilezza
– Japanese Language : 親切
– Korean Language : 친절
– Latvian Language : laipnÄ«ba
– Lithuanian Language : gerumas
– Malay Language : kebaikan
– Maltese Language : kindness
– Norwegian Language : godhet
– Persian Language : مهربانی
– Portugese Language : bondade
– Romanian Language : bunÄƒtate
– Russian Language: доброта
– Slovenian Language : prijaznost
– Spanish Language : bondad
– Swahili Language : huruma
– Thai Language : ความเมตตา
– Turkish Language : iyilik
– Urdu Language : بندوں پر بہت مہربان
– Vietnamese Language : lòng tốt
– Welsh Language : caredigrwydd
– Yiddish Language : גוטהאַרציקייַט