Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Wednesday 22 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Maurice and the Theban Legion
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

6 Ways to practice being kinder

MOM,CHILDREN

Shutterstock

Cynthia Dermody - published on 01/08/18

Begin now and by the end of this year, you'll be a better person.

Kindness is trendy lately. Groups like Kindness.org, The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, and Acts of Kindness all share videos and memes daily promoting the idea that “Sometimes it only takes one act of kindness and caring to change a person’s life” and “I’m here … for you.” We see these videos and cry over them, share them with our friends, vow to be exactly like the guy in the coffee shop who took the homeless man home for dinner or gave the frazzled waiter a $300 tip. And yet … many of us aren’t changed by these bits of inspiration. Why? Because being kind is sometimes hard, and it takes risk, especially with strangers.

Like anything in life, the more we practice something the better we get at it. While it’s natural to think we are kinder to those we love and see every day, the frustrations of life sometimes get in the way and it’s not always the case. So why not make 2018 the year you start our own kindness initiative … beginning right in your own home. With genuine practice day in and day out you can take these habits to the wider world. Here are some suggestions:

1. Use manners more

Common courtesy seems to be on the way out in many places, but manners are one of the vestiges of humility and kindness still worth preserving, both at home and in public. Use “please,” “thank you” and “your welcome” at every opportunity — when your husband hands you the remote, when you ask your child to brush his teeth or pick up the toys; the goal is to make these phrases part of your kids’ verbal DNA, and you want them to be automatic for yourself — yes, even that brusque checkout cashier deserves the grace of a “have a nice day,” even if you don’t think he deserves it.

2. Yell less

If you have kids, this is a tough one. Even the most patient parent in the world loses it every once in a while, or many times in a while. Things get stressful, people get late, schedules get boggled, tests get failed, and fridges run empty, especially in big families. Research has shown that yelling in all forms, from general nagging to insults and humiliation, is not benign — it’s damaging and leads to behavior problems later on. So take a deep breath, count to five, and speak calmly and with love.

3. Spend less time on your phone (and more time with them)

Your time is perhaps the most valuable thing you can give to anyone, so why not start with your kids? Log out of Facebook and forget about checking the latest news alerts till later. Being present is being loving.

4. Look for small kindness “opportunities”

Service is a great way to instill kindness in your kids, but it doesn’t have to involve a big organized effort. Bring a bag with you next time you go on a walk in the park and pick up litter, or help an elderly woman with her bags at the grocery store.

5. Stop road raging

We should practice being kind, even when the other person is “anonymous” — case in point, in the car. With incidents like this scary road rage video (warning — disturbing language), it’s no wonder why kindness has a tough time surviving on the roadways. Buck this trend, especially when your kids are in the car. The next time you get cut off (and you will), be compassionate and tell your kids it’s important to give the driver the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she’s late picking up her toddler at day care, or he’s rushing off to a family emergency. You don’t know and it really doesn’t matter … you should be kind whether others are or not.

6. Share a daily act of “kindness” at the dinner table

Ask everyone to share something “kind” they did that day, however big or small. If someone doesn’t have anything to offer, they’ll be inspired to make sure they make the effort to come to the table with something the next day. Kindness is addictive, after all.




Read more:
4 Rules for criticizing with kindness


ST JOHN BERCHMANS

Read more:
The boy who became a saint through simple kindness and courtesy

Tags:
ParentingPersonal Growth
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
ANMOL RODRIGUEZ
Domitille Farret d'Astiès
Attacked with acid as a baby, Anmol Rodriguez overcomes and inspi...
2
ARGENTINE CHILDREN
Esteban Pittaro
Argentine “Mother Teresa” was a former model and actress who embr...
3
RESURRECTION
Philip Kosloski
Your body is not a “shell” for your spirit
4
Our Lady of La Salette
Philip Kosloski
How Our Lady of La Salette can give us hope in darkness
5
PRAY
Philip Kosloski
Pray this Psalm when you successfully recover from an illness
6
OUR LADY
Philip Kosloski
An alternative Hail Mary to Our Lady of Sorrows
7
PIER GIORGIO FRASSATI
Cerith Gardiner
12 Habits of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati that every young adult...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.