I’m a big fan of the Golden Rule and treating others with kindness. As a matter of fact, I’m working on a project called Kindness365.com that will launch early next year with the purpose of inspiring intentional acts of kindness each day. So, naturally when Tim Elmore offered to write a guest post on kindness and cultivating it in our kids (and ourselves) this Christmas, I eagerly accepted! Tim’s guest post is below:
Kindness. Most of us would never use the word if it weren’t for church on Sunday, where we have to talk about it because it’s in the Bible. We just don’t hear the word in everyday conversation. That’s sad. It’s not only a rare commodity; it may be an endangered species.
So how do we cultivate kindness in our homes at Christmas?
Plan a trip to the shopping mall this week, but not to shop. Walk together as a family and do this little exercise. As you walk by the frantic shoppers, look into their eyes and smile. As you do, ask God to reveal to you what they might need; where they might be hurting. You’ll be amazed at how much you can read on a face. Loneliness. Anxiety. Depression. Once you pass by, pray for what comes to mind. You might pray: “God, those older folks looked lonely. Be their companion today, Lord, and if they don’t know You personally, reveal Yourself to them.” Or, “God, those young people look angry. God, give them peace, and if they don’t know You, reveal yourself to them.”
I’ve done this exercise with guys that I mentor and it always ignites our hearts. We suddenly see people differently — not so much as shoppers who are in our way, but as souls who have hurts and battles. It almost always ignites kindness. Once you’ve meandered through the mall, have a conversation and talk about what you saw. Then, decide on one person (or group) that were especially memorable, and do something for them. It may be as little as buying them a Starbucks coffee or a Coke. But — step out and show kindness. You may be amazed at how viral it can be.
“And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.” (Romans 12:8)
Join us tomorrow at Jon Acuff’s blog as we discuss ways to develop peacefulness in your kids (and maybe yourself!) during the holidays.