K is for Kind
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, there is nothing as important in the life of a parent as teaching your children to be good people. Academics, sports, whathaveyou will all come in time and can readily be taught by someone else besides yourself. But character, that’s one I am not willing to pass over to someone else. That’s not to say they can’t learn good behavior from teachers or other adults, but it’s not their duty. It’s mine and J’s, as the parents to our three children, to help them be kind and gentle children who will some day grow up to responsible, thinking adults. Unfortunately, not everyone shares my opinion. And while I’m not so bold as to speak up to a random child out in public, unless perhaps they do something to my child, I’m not afraid to say something when I’m in an authority position of some kind. Take for instance my week teaching VBS. I was the crafts teacher, so I dealt with all the children each day. There was one group in particular that tested my patience regularly. As is usually the case, there was one child that seemed to light a spark of misbehavior in the other children. At one point one of the boys (not the starter, but frequent joiner) did something particularly mean-I don’t remember the exact offense, but it likely involved smacking someone with that days’ craft. I looked at him and said “Alex* was that a kind thing to do?” He looked back at me, stunned, as though he had never been asked that before, and said “No” turning his eyes toward the floor. I asked him to think about that next time before he did something to a friend. I didn’t make a big deal about it, but I wanted to give him something to think about. I don’t know that it changed his behavior much that day, but I do hope that some day he will remember to stop and think first.
I am often complimented on my children’s behavior. When Belle was young, I usually made an excuse like “She’s just shy” or something. But now, I thank the person for noticing and generally I tell them that we (meaning J and I) have worked hard to make it so. Parenting is hard work, but the payoffs are immeasurable!
*Clearly I changed the name, seeing as I’m not certain I even remember the child’s name anyway