It’s Cool to be Kind

I speak professionally to business people on the power of kindness. In business today, with all of the fear, negativity, and indifference in the marketplace, businesses are finding that values-based leadership makes an extremely positive difference in the workplace.

Do our children feel this way? Can it be cool to be kind?

I have four grandchildren that I adore. They are kind kids being raised by kind parents. I may sometimes worry about their well-being but I never worry about their values. They are values-driven, kind kids.

What I DO worry about, however, are the kids that are being taught that kindness isn’t cool, that nice guys finish last, that being kind equals being a wimp. I am afraid that too many of our children’s’ role models are tough talking athletes, TV, and movie celebrities that are great entertainment but poor examples of the power of kindness.

I want to make this as clear as I can. It is time for kindness in every aspect of our lives…at home, in business, in society. There is enough “tough guy” posturing in politics, sports, and business to go around. We as parents need to start letting our children know that it is cool to be kind.

I think there are some things we can do as parents of these easily influenced girls and boys to help them make their decisions towards kindness. Here are some suggestions:

1) Stop trashing the teachers. They are not perfect; they’ve got their own issues. Rather than take it out with the kids, why not practice some patience (and kindness) with a private, calm meeting to determine how Charles can do better in class. Charles’ teacher is going to appreciate some calm in a very tumultuous life and the result will probably be pleasantly surprising. Note to self: kindness takes some effort!

2) Try coaching rather than yelling. Our children steal more with their eyes and ears than we can imagine. A little encouragement and coaching go MUCH farther than yelling and screaming.

3) Remember the good old days. We were each at one time the age of our children. We forget that too often…when our kids err in judgment; it might not be a bad idea to remember the good old days…when we were in their shoes. This generation is not any more going directly to hell with Miley Cyrus than we were with Elvis.

4) Set an example. From the pizza delivery boy to the principal of the school, show that respect and kindness is applied to every person at every level. Booker T. Washington said “When we can teach our children that it takes as much dignity to till a field as to write a poem, then we will achieve”.

5) Keep the lights on. As long as our kids know that we love them, they are going to be okay. It’s okay to hate the sin, but love the sinner. Let our children know that we love them in spite of their errors, and that they are always safe in the warmth of home. This is the essence of kindness.

Kindness is on the comeback. In every profession and industry, examples of leaders who practice patience and kindness are standing out. Ask any student, athlete, soldier, employee, or friend…who would you rather your leader be, with all things being equal? Bad-ass or kind?

You’ll get your answer. It is cool to be kind.