Making A Friend | Teaching Our Kids to Be Kind
Be kind. Kindness matters. Kind people are my kinda people.
I’ve seen these sentiments on everything from letterboards, to t-shirts and even pretty desk decor. The fact that kindness has become the latest “it” word suggests it’s a lost trait. And sadly, in some ways, I believe it is.
But it’s never too late to change and foster kindness in ourselves and our children.
My dad was in the military and later became a commerical airline pilot, so we moved around quite a bit when I was younger. Attending a new school every couple of years and navigating the art of making friends was pretty common for me.
I’ve never forgotten what my mom would tell me when we found ourselves in another new place, or I was starting my first day at another new school. “Camille, if you want friends, you have to be a friend.” Sounds easy enough, except for the fact that I was painfully shy. But you know what? My mom was right. Being forced out of my comfort zone was one of my greatest opportunities for growth.
I went up to kids I didn’t know and introduced myself. I asked to sit with a table of classmates while they ate lunch. Was it easy? No. Was I always accepted or well received? No. But more often than not I was included, and eventually made great friends. These experiences made me brave and resilient. They also made me more sensitive to those who are new to a group or considered “outsiders.” I didn’t want others to go through some of the things I did.
I want my son to be inclusive of others. We’ve shared with him ways he can be a friend and show kindness. If you see a child eating alone, invite them to join you. If they need help, extend a hand. Share a hug with a friend that is hurting or feels bad. Be polite. Treat others how you want to be treated. You will probably be rejected by some, but don’t let that stop you from being brave and kind. If you want a friend, you have to be a friend.
Look for opportunities to be kind. I bet you won’t have to look very far.
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” -Mother Teresa