FAMILY Blog: Making Kindness Count

The month of February means it’s time to celebrate another holiday, Valentine’s Day. As a parent, it’s my challenge to translate what this celebration of love means to my kids. And with three little boys, I’m not overly anxious to watch them create Valentine’s gushing over their female classmates!

As I began to reflect on my message for this blog, I hit the trail for a run to clear my head. As always, with the road in front of me, I am able to reflect. I quickly encountered a fellow runner who offered a friendly wave hello—the runner’s wave. This simple act of kindness offers encouragement and motivation to persevere. It hit me that we need to focus on teaching our children how to create these simple acts of kindness. And what better way to lift someone’s spirits than with the kind words of a Valentine?

Hallmark would prefer we mark the holiday by showering our children and spouses with candy, cards and gifts. I’m feeling compelled to teach my boys Valentine’s Day is another opportunity to share random acts of kindness, but how do I teach this?

I decided to check in with my 6-year-old, to see if he had any ideas on how you show kindness to others. According to Jack, “You cannot touch other people’s things; you have to say nice things to people; you should help others do things they can’t do themselves or teach them how to do them; and you should not make fun of someone and hurt their feelings.” Sounds like good advice to me!

To continue this dialogue, I plan to sit with my children while they construct their classmate’s Valentines and ask, “What would make this friend happy?” I will encourage them to put themselves in their friend’s shoes and consider what they would want on their Valentine. I hope this small lesson in empathy will shift their thinking in this direction. As Carolyn Jabs explains in her article on page 32, “Being able to imagine things from another perspective makes it easier for people to get along with each other, and that capacity has lifelong advantages.”

I also hope to model acts of kindness for my kids. For example, on President’s Day, my family will join 100 of my high school alumnae to make sandwiches for the homeless. The plan is to work in an assembly line to fill lunch bags with all sorts of items through the local charity, Cup of Joe.

Every kind act, big and small, can bring more love into the world. And isn’t this really what Valentine’s Day should be about? As Desmond Tutu said, “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

And from our FAMILY to yours, Happy Valentine’s Day!

Julie Turco

Account Executive

Washington FAMILY Magazine

[email protected]

About WF Staff

Washington FAMILY Staff

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