Kindness in children is a joy to observe. A three-year-old generously shares her toys with a visiting friend. A fourth-grader joins a handicapped classmate in the cafeteria, because she’s at a table by herself. A sophomore stops in a crowded hallway to help a fellow student pick up the books he dropped.
Kindness is a Fruit of the Spirit
Since kindness is a fruit that comes from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, why do we need to teach it to our children? It’s important to prepare our children’s hearts for the changes that will come with the fullness of the Spirit. Kindness can be cultivated by “heart training.”
Teach Kindness by Teaching to See from Other’s Perspective
One way to change a child’s heart is to help him or her see from the other person’s perspective. As you and your preschooler prepare for a little friend’s visit, say something like, “When Emily comes over tomorrow, she will be away from all her toys. Do you remember how you felt when you visited Sadie, and all the toys belonged to her? What could Sadie have done to make you feel better?” The ensuing discussion will allow you to show your child the feelings that her guest might experience and what she can do to help her enjoy the visit.
Prepare Your Child to Show Kindness at School
Your child will share his classroom with children at various levels in academics, sports and social skills. It’s important to talk to him about how it feels to think you don’t measure up in the eyes of the world. Perhaps you can help him relate by talking about a time that he experienced some of those feelings.
As your child learns to think about how others feel, he will develop a heart for people that will show in his acts of kindness.