Last week, I was teaching a lesson about Kindness to 7-11 year olds. I teach the same lesson 6 times to different groups and the way I deliver this – the explanations and examples I use – change slightly with each session. A happy side-effect of this is that it often really makes me think or re-think the topic that I’m teaching about.
So last week, my mid-lesson epiphany was this:
It’s not okay to just tell yourself that you’re a kind person and have done with it. Kindness isn’t something that you have or don’t have.
Kindness is a choice – a choice that you have to make again and again, in different situations, throughout each day.
It’s something that you have to practice consistently – even on those days when you’re not feeling your best…
Kindness is when you don’t feel like letting that car in front of you in traffic, but do it anyway. It’s when you ask that slightly irritating but well-meaning colleague to join you for lunch, even though you’d rather just sit with your mates. Kindness is giving up your seat on a train to someone who needs it more, even though you’re tired and achy and desperate to get your feet up.
And don’t do it for the label – so that you can pat yourself on the back and tell yourself how selfless you are. Just do it because it will make someones’ day better, including yours.