Be kind to every child you meet, because you don’t know what story they are living through. It’s amazing to me what complicated lives so many children live, and how strong, resilient, and courageous they are.
Be kind to every child on your street, because you don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors. I meet a lot of kids with parents who are depressed, alcoholic, neglectful, distracted, angry, or absent. Kids live with parents who fight, yell and curse at each other, are cold towards each other, or who are separated or divorced. It is incredibly stressful and painful to live with these sorts of issues as your constant backdrop.
Be kind to every child in your classroom, because you don’t know what they live through each night and before school each morning. Many kids live in homes that are stressed, chaotic, and with distracted parents. More kids than you know live like Cinderella, having to fend for themselves or take care of siblings because they have parents who are working two jobs, are physically or emotionally incapable, or suffer from mental illnesses like depression or addictions. Too many kids go to bed with no parent to read to them or tuck them in.
Be kind to every child you hear about on the news, because you don’t know the reasons behind their behaviors. It’s easy to judge kids who are bullies, break the law, or get pregnant. Trust that there are always stories behind why kids go off track. Usually they have lacked the support, love, resources, and guidance they needed to grow up to be the person they were meant to be. Offer support and understanding, not judgments.
Lastly, be kind to every adult you meet today, because you don’t know the stories behind their behaviors either. If you look past their mischief, you will see the little kid in them who just wants to be loved, heard, understood, included, and valuable.
Kindness and understanding are gifts that we need to give more often, and especially to those who seem to deserve it the least and who are the hardest for us to love.