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Challenge: Raising Kind Kids

It Starts With You.

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As parents, we struggle to figure out how to raise kind kids. We get them involved in activities, we engage them in volunteering, and we lecture them on the importance of compassion. We read them books about kindness, we show them movies depicting kindness, and we attempt to demonstrate kindness.

We fail to admit, that kindness doesn't always come naturally to us either.

We stand in the mirror and pick ourselves apart.

We don't get in the pool, because we would have to walk in front of strangers in our bathing suit.

We deny ourselves many things in the quest for a perfect body.

We openly beat ourselves up for past mistakes.

We casually label ourselves "stupid" or "ridiculous" when we mess up.

We pick our partners apart when they fail to complete the task how we wish.

We lose our patience when our children dawdle behind us.

We berate drivers who don't drive the way we think they should.

We openly judge Facebook friends for "being fake" or "who do they think they are".

We practice being in charge of everyone else, as if they need our help.

While we are busy cracking the code on how to raise kind kids, we are missing the boat.

While we stand back and desperately try to figure this kindness thing out....our children have it down!

They wear what they want, when they want to....regardless of what others think.

They jump in the pool if they're hot, regardless of who is watching.

They try again, when they labels needed.

They find what they like about themselves, instead of searching for what they hate.

They have patience for their friends way of doing something...even if it may be different from their own.

They revel in the dawdle, noticing the details along the way.

They accept people as they are, without judging or berating.

You see, kindness begins at home. When we are mindful of who we are, not who we wish we were....we are able to show ourselves kindness. Giving kindness to ourselves first, fills our cup, so we have enough to give away when the time comes.

Practicing kindness with ourselves, spills over.

How can we expect our children to practice kindness, when what they see and hear is judgement? Our running internal voice is spilling over onto others. If you are judgmental and berating of others, you can bet your inner voice is judging and berating YOU!

Let's call foul! Let's decide to stop! Let's go back to a time when we weren't in charge of everyone else....just in charge of ourselves. Let's decide that we will practice kindness with the most important person in our lives.....ourselves.

Kindness begins with you.

Create an internal voice that is kind, and forgiving.

Create a safe place inside, where you can retreat to loving kindness whenever needed.

Create a dialogue that is supportive, caring and encouraging....beginning with yourself.

Be loud friends....make sure your kids hear when you fail to judge that other person. Be sure they hear when you say kind words to the reflection in the mirror instead of demeaning how your rear end doesn't look how you would like in that bikini. Be sure your kids see you create a space for silence each day, where you practice being kind to yourself. Oh and make sure your kids are present for the moment you are truly happy for that Facebook friend who seems to have it all together.

We must practice kindness for it to come naturally. It won't just spring from a dry well.

Kindness is cultivated, and it begins with us.

I teach kindness for a living. I teach it as a way of life. Showing kindness and compassion to ourselves is the practice....the training. Showing kindness and compassion to others is the olympics. When we practice kindness and compassion towards ourselves everyday, then we are ready for the olympics when they come! It comes naturally when we get to the olympics....THIS is what we have been training for! We are ready. It doesn't take effort at this point, because our internal voice is already saying kind, nonjudgmental words and knows how to travel that path easily.

When our cups are full....we have enough to give away. Practice filling your cup and your children will hear those words, see those actions and will begin filling their own cups, for when they need it....and they will always need it.

Resource: A Loving Kindness Meditation

Find a comfortable seated position. Close your eyes and breathe deeply, creating a space of noticing. Notice how your body feels, how your heart feels and notice any thoughts that are circulating. Engage your core heart feelings. Get a beautiful picture of yourself in your mind as a child, remember what you looked like, what you are wearing and what kinds of things you are interested in. Direct all of your energy towards that child in your mind. Send that child loving compassion. Slowly repeat in your mind these beautiful words.

I wish you peace, I wish you happiness, I wish you free from harm.

Repeat these several times, engaging your heart each time. You deserve it. You need it.

Now imagine someone neutral in your mind. This is someone you don't dislike and you don't necessarily like. This could be someone you come in contact with daily or just someone you notice passing on the road. Engage your core heart feelings and send positive energy towards this person.

I wish you peace, I wish you happiness, I wish you free from harm.

Feel it. They deserve it. They need it.

Now imagine someone that you have very negative feelings towards. You may or may not have expressed hate towards this person at one time. They have hurt you or in some way or affected your life negatively (please make sure to remain with where you feel safe in regards to past trauma, when choosing). This one will be a bit harder. Engage your core heart feelings towards this person. They need love too. They need acceptance too. They need this energy.

I wish you peace, I wish you happiness, I wish you free from harm.

They deserve it. They need it....just like you.

Now repeat this prescription on a daily basis.....until the voice inside your head aligns with your heart. Repeat until your cup is full and you have enough to give away. Repeat until giving kindness and compassion that negative person in your life, isn't so tough anymore.

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