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Planting seeds of kindness

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There was an article in Positive News a couple of months ago about a young woman living in New York who was feeling very lonely and isolated. In a moment of awareness, she suddenly realised that if she was feeling this it would be certain that many other people were also feeling this. This insight led her to start leaving inspiring and reassuring notes all around the city for people to find. Her passion for random acts of kindness what she was doing led her to build a website for her project, now titles ‘The World Needs More Love’ and there are now 13,000 people involved from 50 different states in the US and more than 50 different countries.

What are the benefits of kindness?

In our world where there is daily reporting of violence, starvation, war and threats to the environment, it is up to all of us to take some responsibility for tipping the balance back towards harmony and peace. The Random acts of Kindness Foundation is a comprehensive website with research, resources and stories of people’s experiences of practicing kindness. One piece of research shows the importance of giving as well as receiving and explains that whilst children do benefit from being given what they need to develop their hobbies and their studies, it’s actually through learning to give that things like feelings of happiness and wellbeing increase, friendships strengthen and bullying is reduced.


The research says that children are naturally altruistic but that this is socialised out of them by the time they go to secondary school and suggests that to counter this, there are four simple steps that you can take with your children. Firstly it is important to read up on the theory and concepts that underpin what is now being called ‘the science of kindness’ so that what you are doing makes sense to you. This will help strengthen your understanding of the reasons that increasing your child’s opportunities to give is as important as their opportunities to receive. Secondly, make a commitment with your children to record one act of kindness each day for a month.

Friendly kindness smile Record your kindness

The activities can be recorded in a diary or notebook with enough detail to be able to recall them from the description. Thirdly, share stories about your activities each week as a group together. The main point to the sharing is that enough information is passed on for everyone to learn from each others experiences and understand the kind of experiences that lead to people feeling more appreciative and thankful. Lastly, at the end of the month find some way of carrying your project on. It may be that you decide to have a regular time where you consciously practice kindness again; this could be monthly or even one day every year. Decide as a group what feels realistic, it is more important that you are able to keep up your commitment rather than aim for something big.

If you encounter resistance in one of more of your children, be as gentle and accepting as possible with them. If a child (or adult) is not feeling great about themselves, it can be hard at first to even contemplate giving to others. Instead find some ways to bring your kindness to them and see if you can, overtime find ways to gently bring into their awareness the power of giving to others. It might be useful to link them to video clips that show other peoples experience, especially people who are practicing kindness as an antidote to their own struggle. Let you children come to these ideas in their own time and avoid putting any pressure on anyone, including yourself to behave in ways that don’t feel possible.



About Jenny Smith

About Jenny Smith

Jenny Smith is a freelance writer and facilitator specialising in mental health, well-being and ecotherapy. She writes for National Mind and The Working Parent and facilitates training in the Work that Reconnects and Ecotherapy. She is inspired by nature, gardening, love and non-duality teachings

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