The idea of kindness is encouraged by every major religion and valued by almost every culture. But why? There is nothing in the universe that says we should be kind, or is there?
An act of kindness is simply a gesture of goodwill towards someone else. It can be as simple as smiling at the cashier at the corner store, opening the door for someone, or saying thank you in a sincere way. It doesn’t have to cost you anything; what’s important is that you take the time to do something that expresses genuine care for another person.
And that is what is at the heart of kindness. It’s a person investing in those around them, even strangers. The act itself is a way of connecting, even if it is just for a short moment, with those we encounter each day. It is an investment in our community because communities are strengthened by it and flourish when people are kind to one another.
So, here is the interesting thing, scientific research has shown that kindness is something that is innate, that we are born with. Children are born with a tendency to show kindness and compassion towards others. If that is true, then why are some children and adults not kind and instead selfish and greedy? Unfortunately, the answer is that it was learned.
The number one way to teach kindness to children is to model it. When they see those around them being kind they instinctively begin being kind as well. If you want your children to become kind people, start looking for all the little ways you can model kindness to them through your actions.
Next week we will take a look at why Harvard now says that kindness is a major characteristic they are looking for in the people they accept.