And now may the LORD show kindness and truth to you. I also will repay you this kindness, because you have done this thing. 2 Samuel 2:6 (NKJV)
Kindness is like good medicine to the soul, particularly when we witness it in children. Who doesn’t melt when you see a child being kind, whether that’s sharing a favorite treat with a friend or giving someone a hug, just because.
And yet, maybe because of the barrage of social media, or all the stories of bullying, Americans feel that children today are not very kind. NBC News[i] conducted a survey they called “the state of kindness poll” in which 62% of the more than 2,600 participants responded that they believe kids are less kind today than they were in the past. Women (66%) feel more strongly about this kindness deficit than do men (58%).
Interestingly, the overwhelming majority of respondents (77%) blamed parents for this seeming lack of kindness among children today, with only a few blaming the community, schools, or friends. But while saying that, Americans say they don’t put kindness first when it comes to teaching kids values. Instead, teaching children honesty, courage, leadership, and a strong work ethic trumped kindness by the majority of the respondents.
On the other hand, the younger generation — those 18-24 — thinks kindness rules, and these millennials chose kindness by 10 percentage points over honesty as the most important quality to teach kids.
The survey results also show that Americans are split on whether kindness is innate or needs to learned and nurtured over time. Slightly more than half (52%) of survey participants believe that all of us are born with the ability to show kindness, while 47% believe kindness must be developed. Those without kids (56%) were more inclined to think that people are born kind, while 50% of participants with kids thought nurture trumped nature, and more men believe nature is innate while only about half the women believe it is inherent. Parents do play a very important role in teaching kindness to their kids by example.
Father, help me to teach kindness to my kids through my own example.