It’s been almost a year since I have written a blog entry. Sometimes as a writer, and a person, you just have to write yourself for a while. The complications of life, high expectations and emotions, real world problems, and the constant barrage of negativity in social media is literally crushing for a sensitive artsy type like me. It is the great diversity in this world that makes it such a beautiful place. With what kids today are dealing with, I feel that social media is complicating the problems with hysteria. It’s almost as though everyone is screaming in a different language and no one is listening to one another. Coming together like that is impossible even when we all really want the same thing : a better world for our children.
The universal translator that is available in any form, online, in real life, the written word, the spoken word, a tangible act, a facial gesture, something that “the deaf can hear and the blind can see” (Mark Twain) is kindness. It is a one-size-lifts-all gift that is just as beneficial for the giver as the recipient. They say “kill them with kindness,” well I say “save them with kindness.”
There is no way to measure the pain of another human soul, but how can we show kids that pain means there is an opposite and just as strong peace on the other side of it? And that both emotions are merely building blocks to write their own stories? The misconception that life is about being happy all of the time can be found in the media, commercials, even in fairy tales that conclude “happily ever after.” But even a “happily ever after” has a “rest of the story.” The pain can be so isolating, it makes you believe you are totally alone in dealing with adversity while everyone else seems to have it so much easier.
Emotions are meant to be ever changing. You can’t protect your children from disappointment, pain, fear, or being tempted to do the wrong thing. To do so would be to stop them from feeling, which sets them up for living in an unreality that social media, drugs and alcohol, and the bad people of the world are only too happy to provide them with.
How can you help kids see that there is a way through the darkness?
Be supportive, listen, tell your children every day that you love them and that they are enough. Give them boundaries and let them feel the consequences of their choices. Read to them. Take them outside. Tell them about your childhood, moments that you were proud of and mistakes that you made as well. Let them know from the time they are very young that their feelings are significant but also manageable. Empower your children by showing them how they can help others in the real world.
Tell YOUR story. I know you have one, we all do. Whether you were bullied, the bully, or a faceless watcher who did nothing to help during the trying world of childhood and adolescence—tell your story so that kids know they are not alone. #STWK
Encourage your children to show kindness to others, always. Share your abilities, your time, your smile. Involve your kids in the good acts you do, let them see how good it feels to lift others. Have them “start a ripple” and flood social media with positivity #STWK
*Start a community campaign with local businesses donating space to have children paint positive quotes all over town
&/or post an uplifting quote on your social media page.
*Become a mentor for a troubled child or foster children who need a family and a home
&/or make a special uplifting note for each child in a class or school.
*Start a “SAVE THEM WITH KINDNESS” wall at your school where children can post anonymous acts of kindness they saw or did in a place that everyone can see it and be inspired
&/or share stories of acts of kindness that you witnessed with your children and friends.
*Donate time to the arts or youth programs that encourage children to create something of their own while spending face to face time with peers
&/or sponsor an underprivileged child who is unable to afford attending such programs.
We all know that positive change won’t come from killing, it won’t come from screaming at one another, and it won’t come from any one person, deed, law, or decision. So challenge yourself to make a ripple. Encourage your children that their own stories will be much richer with each ripple they have the power to make. The ripples from each act can create a tidal wave of change for a better future for all of us.