Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24
Kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. It’s one of those attributes that invokes all sorts of warm fuzzy feelings for the recipient and a swelling sense of pride for the giver. It’s a win-win all around. If that’s the case, why is it hard for kids to equate being kind with being cool? My teenage son has been going through an unkind phase. It’s made me question my parenting and made me wonder if I did a good job teaching all the right lessons when he was a wee lad. I think those are natural responses, but in the midst of my questioning, God gently reminded me that he is at such a pivotal age. It’s an age that is full of insecurities as life around him and, even inside him, suddenly feels different. This, compounded with the inaccurate notion that society tells us that being kind is wimpy, results in trying to prove that you’re something, especially among peers at school. It often results in lashes of unkindness that is regretted later.
The truth is that being kind is actually super cool. The Bible tells us in Romans 2:4 that it’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. That’s because kindness softens the heart and motivates us to do good. It’s not a wimpy act. It’s actually one that takes great strength and courage. In the town I reside in South Africa, a group of us recently went to our local police department to say thank you and to bear gifts of cold Coke (the way to an African’s heart is through ice-cold Coca-Cola). This act was significant, because the police department here is often labeled as corrupt and useless. They don’t get a lot of thanks. I literally saw hardness melt away as we shared simple words of thanks. The supervisor said we couldn’t leave that place until we worshipped God, so right there in her office, we sang and praised God together.
Super cool. There’s a quote by Scott Adams that reads, “Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” With my son and his teenage boy-turning-into-adulthood years, I’ve realized that one of my most powerful acts is meeting unkindness with kindness. His defenses melt, and it reminds him of what we’ve taught him since he was a child…that one of the ways we value others is by treating them kindly. I also strive to be an example by exercising kindness to others in his presence. Sometimes it’s as simple as waiting to let a car pull out in front of me. It speaks volumes. It creates a ripple effect that is unexplainable. No one aspires to be known as a meany and a loner.
If we want friends in our lives, then we must exercise the most natural, God-breathed attribute of kindness. We will become a friend magnet that everyone wants to be around. That, my friends, is cool. If you have teenage daughters in your house, then I suggest picking up a copy of 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know. This non-fiction book by Kari Kampakis helps reinforce that young girls can be secure in who God has made them to be and they don’t have to compromise who they are to find love and acceptance.
How are you teaching your kids that being kind is super cool?