A stranger in a coffee shop, another parent at your kid’s school, a co-worker, extended family, your children, your spouse anyone you meet in your daily life could probably use a little more kindness, empathy, and positivity. Just a smile on a passing stranger makes me feel happier. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Recently, the Golden Rule struck me like lightning. I realized I needed to focus on my moral roots, put aside my own stresses, issues, and judgements and try to go through my day treating everyone the way I want to be treated. This is particularly important when it comes to our own children. I’m not suggesting that we stop disciplining our kids because we don’t want them to discipline us, but I think it’s important to remember all the things they have going on in their lives.
I volunteered in my daughter’s kindergarten classroom recently and I got to see first-hand what a day in her world is like. After school was over I started to feel really guilty about the way I had been handling things with her, I had been short and I wasn’t giving her any slack. I was so stressed during the first few weeks of school because I was getting used to my new routine and my new schedule. Then, when I was in her classroom, I saw that her day at school is pretty stressful. Don’t get me wrong, she really loves school! I just realized that she was getting used to a new schedule too. On top of that, she had so many new things to learn, a new school to navigate, new people to meet, a new classroom, and new teachers to get used to. This is also the first year where she has to be responsible for things. She has actual homework and she takes it very seriously and actually likes it. She had been treating me the way she wanted to be treated, but I wasn’t holding up my end of the deal.
Since this realization I’ve been focusing on positive reinforcement, smiles, and snuggles. Yes, discipline is still a part of her life when needed. But I’m focusing on the positive in a big way through my actions so that both my kids can see that teaching people how to treat you is an important part of living a happy life. We’ve been having lots of conversations about how you can only control your actions and how leading by example can help us let go of anger or annoyances about someone else’s behavior.
It’s funny that this is something I actually have to remind myself about. I feel like this was something that was told to me again and again and again when I was growing up. I guess in the hustle and bustle of life I had forgotten how far a positive mindset, a simple act of kindness, and a sentiment of empathy can go.
Ah, add “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” this to the long list of the things you learn, or re-learn, as a parent.