Last year, I wrote this letter to Gus on World Kindness Day. You can see it's dated; the second paragraph alludes to Donald Trump's impeachment. Still, I thought the broad strokes of the letter are still very applicable, AND I hadn't published it here at sbhebert.com. So, I resurrected it for today. I hope you enjoy!
Today, 13 November 2019, is “World Kindness Day.” I don’t know about you, but I think it’s pretty great that some countries set aside a whole day to think about what it means to be kind to other people.
Today is also the day that some members of the United States government begin looking into whether or not President Trump did some bad things as the president. It’s gonna take them a long time to figure that out and you might hear me and Mom talk about it some.
Ya know, a lot of people will have a lot to say about President Trump. Having a lot to say isn’t a bad thing, but sometimes, they won’t use the nicest words. For example, a Senator from Louisiana recently called a Congresswoman from California “dumb” in front of a big crowd. Even if the crowd were small, that wouldn’t make it right.
You know that name-calling, no matter how badly you might want to do it, is wrong and that we shouldn’t hurt other people with our words.
Whenever we turn on the TV or the radio and pay attention to what others are doing out there in the world, it seems like unkind things are happening all the time.
Your teacher shared with me the persuasive writing that you were working on in class. She told me that you had to write about something that mattered to you and that you wrote about gun control. To be honest, I was pretty surprised. I thought that you would have written about baseball or soccer or playing music, the activities that you do most at home.
But you chose to write about the ways in which people use guns to hurt other people, and you felt like that should really stop. You had a strong opinion, but you also tried to see the world like other people might see it. You tried to understand why many people think guns are a good thing.
That’s great! We should always try to understand why other people think the way they do! We might learn from them, and learning is always a good thing.
But the heart of your argument was that we all needed to be safe, to protect each other, and to be kind to one another. Good thinking!
While we may not always understand why some people are unkind to others or why some people do bad things, what we can understand is that kindness is always the right answer.
I can’t really think of a time when I walked away from talking to someone and thought: “I was just too darn kind to that person.”
We should try to be kind as often as we can. Every day!
One of the great things about kindness is that it has a way of making more kindness. It’s like when we go to a baseball game and your grandfather buys you cotton candy and then your aunt or uncle buys you cotton candy too. More cotton candy!
The more we practice being kind to our friends, the more we receive kindness back from them. I don’t know why it works that way, but it does. When you make kindness, even more kindness just shows up for the party!
As you get ready for your day, I want you to find a way to be kind to someone else. That’s important! But just as important is this: I want you to be kind to yourself too.
If we aren’t kind to ourselves, then it’s usually hard to be kind to other people.
We all make mistakes. We all mess up. We all do things wrong from time to time. It’s absolutely okay to be honest about those mess-ups. Then, you’ve got to be kind to yourself and say, “It’s okay, Gus.” You’d do the same for your friends, why not for yourself too?
Some people use a fancy word for kindness to ourselves. They call it “self-compassion.” That’s a cool, big word, and one that you should know. So when you mess up next time — like maybe you don’t clean your room the way you’re supposed to or maybe you forget to feed the dog — I’ll say to you, “Practice some self-compassion, Gus. It’s okay.” Then we’ll fix it and make it better.
I hope your day is awesome. Have fun. Remember to be kind to your friends and to yourself.
What’s that big, fancy word again?...Self-compassion!