Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Power of Youth: Random Acts of Kindness

As many of you know, I do a lot of 'Pro Bono' writing. Most of it has been doing guest blog posts for various charities, schools and organizations who are doing work and standing up for those who don't always have a voice to stand up on their own. Such places deserve to be in the spotlight and given kudos for what they are doing in and for their communities.

When I looked at my writing chart this morning, I realized that today is the last day of 'Random Acts of Kindness Week', which instantaneously drew my attention to my four children.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am not going to paint this angelic picture of my kids, trying to convince you they do no wrong. Nothing would be further from the truth.

They argue, sass me, emit attitude bigger than they are and, yes, even lied. They are no different from most other youth out there. The one thing that I can say about my kids is that they live their lives how I was expected to: put into life what you want returned.

A random act of kindness can be something as small as picking something up another has dropped, opening a door for someone, giving up your seat on the bus so someone who needs to sit or even just smile at someone walking by. It can be something as big as giving to a charity, volunteering free time to a cause that needs more attention, standing up for a peer who never does it himself or simply being an example to those who are blind to other people's needs.

My kids haven't had an easy go of it. Each of them have had to deal with being lied about, lied to, bullied, hurt, brought down by other people's indiscretions and deal with loss on various levels. Two of my children have even had to fight tooth and nail to become the beautiful people they are because God gave them extra challenges to face when they were born (special needs). But in our house, I always made sure they knew how very much they are appreciated, loved and respected, despite anything challenging their courage outside of our house, and that they may not realize the inspiration they have on those around them.

I was raised with all of those cheesy expressions like, 'What goes around, comes around.' and 'Turn the other cheek.' and 'Do unto others as you'd have them do to you.' I didn't fully understand, or appreciated, those sayings at the time but when I heard myself repeating them to my children after they'd go through something upsetting, blaming themselves for the unkind actions and thoughts of others, I finally understood.

My kids have stood up for each other. They've each been there for others in need, because they understand what it's like to be left out, lonely or treated differently. They give, even when they don't have to because they feel it's right at the time. And I never have to ask them to. I simply remind each of them what treasures they are and the beauty they have brought to each other, and to so many others.

So, on this last day of Random Acts of Kindness week, think of something - small or big - you can do for another in need. Children watch our actions so help to keep the importance of this special week alive. And instilling this in our youth is an amazing start.

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