Today my oldest wore orange to school for Unity Day. A day to wear and share orange to show we are together against bullying and UNITED for kindness, acceptance an inclusion.
So in honor of that we are sharing our Be Kind apparel. But I also want to encourage you with a few thoughts.
What I love most about this day is they are “United in kindness, acceptance and inclusion.”
Kindness. Acceptance. Inclusion. Three powerful words.
Just think if we raised children who were always kind no matter what. Teaching them that people who hurt are usually the ones that hurt people. Maybe we just need to be a little extra patient and kind to those individuals.
Acceptance. Accepting their classmates as they are. Looking at the heart and not the outward appearance. Noticing the individuality and uniqueness of the other kids.
Seeking to include all people. Notice the kids a lone at the playground. To be brave and go sit by them. To just say hello and show that others matter. Inviting them into their friend group.
Sounds like a lot for kids but the thing is… it’s not. Not if it’s modeled by the parents.
Kid’s see when we are kind to those at check out. Kind to our spouses. Kind to the political activists who always knock on the door when your baby is sleeping. Kind to the stranger in line.
They see when we are accepting of those who look different than us. They learn from our hearts on how we love all people no matter what they look like or how they live. We need to change our hearts as parents to shift our focus to the hearts of those around us.
We can teach them a lot by how we interact with neighbors, the new people on our block or next to us at church. To reach out of those who are new faces at the PTA meeting or hockey rink.
Kindness is easy for me. Accepting is something I’m getting better at. But inclusion for this introverted, quiet, homebody always sounds terrifying. To walk up to a stranger and start a conversation sounds terrible but it’s in those moments that I have the biggest impact on my children.
Sometimes I feel we focus so much on the bully. But what if we taught our children to seek out the lonely. Yes I will teach my kids to overwhelm the bully with kindness. Because most likely they just need a little love. But a bully finds the secluded. What if there were no secluded kids to find because we taught our kids to always include. To always accept each other.
Being brave, befriending the outcast is not the easy thing to do. But we can help our children do this by talking about it, coaching them through it and modeling it ourselves. Too often we talk to our kids about something but don’t model it through. We need to model and be intentional about coaching them in those situations.
Yes it may challenge us to step outside of ourselves. Our comfort zone. But it will be worth it. Your actions are molding their hearts. Help point their hearts to what is good, kind, and true.