Image by NCRV

Australian singer, Kamahl said it best, “Why are people so unkind?” From when we’re very little we’re told to use our manners and talk nicely. As we age it seems that our nice words get lost. We no longer have our parents hovering over us ready to put us straight.

It seems that as adults we excuse ourselves from such basic kindness, especially in our families. It seems the older we get the further away we travel from those simple lessons of respect. This goes for kids too. I’ve found if I give my kids my full attention when they’re talking, give them the respect they deserve as little people, then our relationship flourishes. Once I start distracting myself while they go on and on about such and such the closeness starts to dissolve, because they know that I really don’t care about what they’re talking about.

I’m sure we’ve all heard the rhyme “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!” What rubbish. Words are like swords; sharp, pointed and they have the capacity to kill. That’s no overstatement. Look at cyberbullying and the suicides that are coming out of such harassment.

Parents! We need to remember that if we talk about our kids in a negative way in front of them, that hurts them. It includes stuff such as asking someone else if they want an extra child, calling your kid a nightmare and labelling them as the black sheep. It hurts. It’s humiliating for the kid and in the end, you’re creating a massive divide that will get bigger over time.

Grandparents! My rant to you is even if you disagree with how your kids parents just love them all the same. Remember, they’ve never done this before and give your awesome advice when asked for. Times have changed, parenting has changed so just be a shoulder, a support and most importantly a source of encouragement. Then, they will come more often and seek your wisdom, mark my words.

As well as abstaining from saying hurtful words, I think we need to be more proactive in our positive words to each other. We are not a culture that embraces public displays of emotion or affection. But be countercultural and make someone’s day by giving them genuine encouragement. All it takes is an email, a letter, phone call, quiet word, perhaps over a cup of coffee. You never know what people are struggling with and they might need a little boost.

The other night one of my lovely friends sent this text message out of the blue: “I love you emma! You’re a lovely friend.” I felt so special. She didn’t have to send it. But it meant that she was thinking of me and valued my friendship without me having to do anything at all. So precious.

Sorry if this is a bit of a lecture. I just need to vent sometimes. It really can’t be that hard to be kind? Once you set bad habits in motion they are so hard to break. Kindness, however, is a great habit!

Check out what this kid did!!!!!