Monday, July 10, 2006

Kids, Goal Setting, and being Kind

Helping our kids be kind and likeable people ... is that a great goal to set??

One thing I try to remember in dealing with others is that I don't know everything about their situation. If someone does something hateful to me, are they really being horrid or are they, perhaps, just having a horrible day themselves?

A story that really drove this thought home with me is one that I thought others might find helpful, perhaps to relate to their older kids during discussions about personal goals to do with having friends, or being likeable.

I will tell the story in my own words as best I can, just as I remember being told it. It has been seared on my memory ever since.

"I was traveling home on the train from work one day. The train was full of tired commuters who just wanted to sit in peace. Unfortunately we were all driven to distraction by two young children. They were running around, shouting, pushing, kicking the chairs and basically cheesing everyone off in their attempts to destroy the train as noisily as possible. To everyone's annoyance, the children's father sat there ignoring them completely, as though he was unaware what his brats were up to. Unshaven and looking rough, I judged him to be drunk or on drugs, and looked down at him disgustedly.

"I was about to say something to this parent - and it was not going to be very polite - when he suddenly seemed to come awake, and caught me looking at him. Realization dawned on his face and he spoke to me - brokenly - and said, 'I'm sorry about the children. We have just come from the hospital, their mother has just passed away. I don't know what to say to them.'"

"I have never been so thankful before for having bitten my tongue, and I always remember that poor man, whenever I see someone acting in a way that seems unacceptable to me."

On the topic of friendliness, you might enjoy Monicka's super article on how to help your child make friends.

Happy goal setting with your kids!


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