Summer is approaching … a time of year that many families spend a little extra time together. But while they want to create wonderful memories, the reality often plays out much differently. Vacations are filled with stressful arguments, shopping trips are just pure chaos, and visits with extended family are simply too wearing for words.
Have you been in the airport, at the mall, or at the water park and heard a family that was supposed to be “having fun”? I grieve every time I hear angry words exchanged between family members. So many opportunities to build each other up are lost. The same information could be exchanged—it just needs to be exchanged with kindness.
No matter how well we plan our summer, it will have adversity. Our response is what matters. There will be frustrations. There will be disappointments. There will be times when things don’t go as we hoped they would. If parents choose to be kind in these moments, they will teach their children an amazing life lesson. If children choose to be kind to their parents, their parents will be encouraged. If children choose to be kind to one another, so many frustrations can be avoided.
Make an oath of kindness for the summer. Gather your family together and agree to hold each other accountable for a summer of kindness. This does not mean that you don’t enforce the rules or that there will be no discipline. It actually means the opposite. Children need firm and loving discipline, and they want to know very clearly what you expect and exactly what will happen if they continue the undesired behavior. Have rules and then implement them with kindness and consistency.
Anita Roddick said, “The end result of kindness is that it draws people to you.” If this is true, then it follows that being unkind pushes people away. Do you want to draw your family to you? Remember that every harsh word you use and every word spoken in anger pushes those you love away.
Written by Donna McClintock, COO with Children’s Choice Learning Centers, Inc.