“Be Kind.” Those are the words I wrote on our kitchen chalkboard the other morning. Originally, the purpose of those words were meant to remind my girls to be kind—they really struggle throughout the day to share, be polite, show self-control, be gentle and not whine. I’m guessing most 2 and 4-year-old sisters struggle with this throughout their days. But anyways, in my mind, my girls really need to work on their kindness and sometimes ugly moments.
Yesterday morning, I saw an ugly moment right before pre-school drop off with my 4 year-old. Something as simple as leaving our shoes on in the car—quickly became an issue. A short-tempered reaction, followed by a mean old grunt came out of my 4 year-olds mouth. This ugliness stroke me—especially when I heard my daughter scream “don’t be mad at me Mom.”
Now I know this incident is really small, and only the smallest part of our day—but the quick attitude and lack of patience I saw in my daughter was really the mimicking and learned ugliness she’s watched in ME. And the fact that she was worried about me being “mad” at her means one thing—she knows and has seen my quick temper at her.
Ughh that’s hit me so hard the last few days.
How kind am I? Sure I’m kind in the grocery store or when I am socializing with my neighbors. I’m kind when IT’S EASY TO BE KIND. I show patience and gentleness when IT’S EASY to do those things.
I’ve definitely failed the test lately when it comes to being kind in tough and stressful situations. When my daughter says “Mom” twenty-seven times for no real reason and I blurt/scream out “WHAT.” When we are traveling in the airport and I snap at my girls to walk faster or my husband to find the passports in 0.1 seconds. Thats when I really struggle to be kind.
So in hindsight, that chalkboard in my kitchen is meant for my girls and most definitely for ME. Instead of my girls seeing a quick-tempered, attitude-full, and sometimes not so nice Mom—I want them to see KINDNESS. Also, just to clarify—kindness does not mean: not disciplining, letting my kids be crazy, or having a free for all at our house.
Being kind applies to everyone in our lives. However with our kids, spouses, and ones we are closest with, it can be the toughest. Am I right? Instead of getting the best of us, they usually get the worst.
I have to share this quick excerpt because it definitely has stuck with me after reading Jen Hatmaker’s newest book For The Love. Specifically, when addressing marriage, I think Jen says it pretty perfectly:
“We should treat our husbands at least as nicely as we treat the crossing guard.”…”You know what’s sexy at twenty years? Niceness. Compliments after all this time. Thank yous. Apologies. I am over all the drama; give me kindness any old day. Treating your husband like a good friend will preserve your marriage forever. Just act like someone you want to live with instead of a difficult frenemy.”
I’m going to work on my “pleases” and “thank-yous” this week. The simple and sometimes very hard act of showing kindness. And while I’m reminding my girls to be kind by looking at our kitchen chalkboard—I will be reminding myself too. I truly think being kind makes all the difference in someone’s day.
Colossians 3:12 “…clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”