Kindness Can Change Our World – Raising Kind Kids

Raising Kind Kids
The What’s in the Bible? team is passionate about kids, families, God, and faith – we spend a lot of time thinking, watching, praying and reading about those topics and how they intersect. As part of our ongoing desire to serve our families well, we are launching a new blog series called the Editor’s Round Up. Our goal is to bring together the best of what we’re reading on the web – our favorite articles, editorials, and blog posts about kids, families, and faith. Enjoy!
When I was in college, I had an old gray t-shirt that said in big bold pink letters – KINDESS CAN CHANGE THE WORLD. I loved it. It was comfortable and it seemed to encompass everything I believed about the world and my role in it at the time. My boyfriend, now my husband, used to make fun of it – a little naive, he would say. And perhaps he was right, but that also doesn’t mean my beloved t-shirt was wrong.
The last few weeks have been rough on the kindness front, don’t you think? Political rhetoric in our country is almost insufferable, with insults and off-the-cuff hyperboles being swung around like baseball bats. When I was a kid, I loved every minute of presidential races – I would read and watch as much as I could! Now, I can barely stomach the nightly news, and I certainly wouldn’t want my young daughter exposed regularly to the vitriol that fills the airwaves. I want her to know that kindness CAN change the world, because kindness DID through the work of Christ. And now we, as his children and followers, can carry that kindness forward everyday, in every way we can. But that’s not always an easy task!
In a world where kindness can be perceived as weakness, how do we as Christians – and Christian parents – help our kids understand the value of kindness? How do we raise kind kids?
Last year, a Harvard study indicated that about 80% of surveyed kids said “their parents were more concerned with their achievement or happiness than whether they cared for others,” according to this Washington Post article.
I wonder if that data would look different for self-identifying Christian families (the article did not specify religious affiliation). One would hope so! Here are some of my favorite articles around the Web about raising kind kids – tips, ideas, and encouragement for the hard road of parenting.
Blogger Emily Freeman wrote beautifully about cultivating kindness – which is different than niceness, as she explains – in a post this week called “An Invitation to Rediscover Kindness.” While not directly about kids and kindness, Freeman’s post is full of little nuggets of wisdom that can easily be applied to our own understanding of kindness toward our kids and how to define it for them.
Our own What’s in the Bible? Blog has one of my favorite posts on the subject, from guest writer Cara Davis. Based on the wisdom of Micah 6:8, Cara provides a list of questions to help parents reflect on the value and practice of kindness in their homes. It is immensely practical and helpful.
I love this list of very tangible ways you can cultivate kindness in your family and your kids. From Parents Magazine, this list of 14 ideas includes volunteering together, helping people who need a hand, and being a good neighbor.
If you have an inquisitive child, perhaps your efforts to mention and practice kindness are met with a constant, “why?” … And sometimes, as adults, we wonder that too. Why be kind when others are not kind to us? When kindness can be perceived as weakness?
We are called to kindness by a God who is demonstrably and extravagantly kind to us. It is his kindness that brought us salvation through Jesus, and it is his Spirit which fills us with the ability to be kind – to reflect his kindness to the world. Titus 3 is a beautiful reminder of that truth, and a wonderful passage to read and pray as a family as you seek to cultivate kindness in your kids.
God our Savior showed us
    how good and kind he is.
He saved us because
    of his mercy,
and not because
of any good things
    that we have done.
God washed us by the power
of the Holy Spirit.
He gave us new birth
and a fresh beginning.
God sent Jesus Christ
our Savior
    to give us his Spirit.
Jesus treated us much better
    than we deserve.
He made us acceptable to God
and gave us the hope
of eternal life.
This message is certainly true.
Titus 3:4-8, CEV

Melanie Rainer is the Director of Content for What’s in the Bible? and the editor of the What’s in the Bible? blog.
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