Top 5 Kindness Tips From A Nine-Year-Old
It's World Kindness Day on 13 November but shouldn't kindness be something we actively engage in every day? My nine-year-old thinks so...and here are his top tips.
remember the day I realised that not everyone was kind. I was a nine-year-old
Brownie Guide on a carnival float, happily waving a balloon at the crowds gathered
by the side of the road as we slowly passed by. Then out of the crowd came a
man who reached up, took my yellow balloon and gave it to his own child. I was totally distraught; I’d been used to playground bickering and childish mean-spiritedness, but a
grown-up being unkind? This ratcheted things up to a whole new level. The
experience has put the notion of kindness at the forefront of my mind ever
My son, Ezra, is now the age that I was when ‘Balloongate’ occurred and we talk about kindness a lot. He is learning that people aren’t always kind but he’s also discovering that small acts of kindness can be day-changing, week-changing, month-changing (you get the picture) until, eventually, you can actually change people’s lives. In the same way that that man’s actions that bright summer’s day left an indelible imprint of unkindness on my mind almost 40 years later, I truly believe that the opposite – acts of micro-kindness – can form positive nuggets of memory that people treasure decades on.
I’m no ‘tiger mother’ but, in the name of kindness, permit me a moment of pride. The other day, Ezra came home from school with a certificate. In the past he’s been awarded them for ‘effort’, ‘attitude’ and achievements in music and I’ve been pleased for him for all of these. But this one is, I think, the most special of all. It was awarded for ‘always being kind, thoughtful and a good friend’. As such, I’m starting to see him as something of a pint-sized expert in kindness, the next generation of kind people, so I thought it only right to ask him about the subject. Here are his (staggeringly grown-up) tips on kindness. I wish I’d had such insight when I was his age!
MY NINE-YEAR-OLD’S TOP 5 KINDNESS TIPS
comes in many forms
"There isn’t just one way to be kind; you can be kind in lots of different ways. You can be kind by helping people, saying nice things about them, complimenting them, being caring and generally doing helpful things. You can also be kind to yourself because we all need kindness, every single one of us on this planet."
- Be kind
to everybody, regardless of their age
"You should be kind to everybody. It doesn’t matter what age they are, whether they’re old or young, because we all have human rights and are all human beings who deserve to be treated with kindness. You should treat people kindly as you would hope to be treated yourself. People are so busy and tied up with their own lives that they don’t look at other peoples’ lives. Don’t be too busy to be kind."
opportunities to be kind each day
"You should be kind as much as you can be, whenever the opportunity arises, each day if you can. You don’t have to wait for someone to be kind to you; you can create an opportunity by being nice to people yourself. For example, saying hello or good morning when you pass someone in the street is a simple act of kindness that could really brighten up someone’s day. I think kindness is actually a way of communicating people. It reminds people that we are all humans together."
- Create a ‘kind
"If you are kind to someone chances are they will be kind to you and that creates a ‘kind cycle’. They will then be nice to other people and it will go on and on and on. For example, I was on the bus on the way to school and I said hello to an old lady sitting next to me. We got chatting because I’d said hello rather than looking around and she gave me and my mum some biscuits which she’d just bought. This is now what I call the ‘kind cycle’ in action."
- Don’t be
put off if people aren’t kind back
"If someone isn’t kind back then don’t look at the downsides. Don’t think ‘They’ve been really rude, they didn’t say something back’. It could be that they’re having a bad day or that they haven’t heard you so you shouldn’t take it to heart. It’s important to remember that you’ve tried to do something kind. Maybe next time they’ll be having a better day and will say hello back."
Martha Roberts tweets @martharoberts01