We had a conversation yesterday, my kids and I on ways to be kind. Since one of our family goals this year is to perform acts of kindness, I figured I would start at home. My second son wants to be more kind to his family, to dad, mom and his siblings. My daughter wants to be kind to her baby brother and by helping around the house, cleaning, sweeping and making sure she contributes to keeping the house clean. My first son, wants to be kind to everything, including the planets. When I asked to focus within the home, he choose his colors. He named all of them in English and Spanish and promised to take better care of them. I was moved by all their acts of kindness and I hope to help them keep their goals. My first son’s act is especially moving to me for a number of reasons including one very tough experience we had in school last year around his crayons. It was such a tough experience that I had to purchase egg crayons given that normal crayons he used, broke all the time and led to an enormous meltdown. That he promised to now be kind to his crayons may seem trivial, but if you know what he has been through with them, then you will be hopeful. I am. Keep acts of kindness, especially at home.
On this Martin Luther King Day, may you always dream big and radiate kindness. These words from my son’s favorite shirts are what I am keeping today. Dream big, not of things small, but even things that seem out of reach, things that seem not for you. It’s in dreaming that you realize your full potential. And when you do, radiate kindness. Let it be you. Be the first to say I’m sorry when you can. Be the first to open doors and help people if you are able to. Be kind when no one is looking. Be kind when no one expects it. I know that it may seem overwhelming at first and people may take advantage of you. They will. But when your dreams are big and you radiate kindness, your future is bright.
You are like that dazzling sunrise with all its golden hue. All its glow like no other is you. Day after day you remain. You rise, you brighten, you glimmer, you dwell, and you cast your essence to everyone alike. Ignored or seen, conflict or peace, vulnerable or strong, you are the touchstone by which all that is big with dreams, all that is kind, can be measured. And you do it well. Your gaze is glorious to all those who want to also dream big, who radiate kindness. You give them permission to do the same. And because of you, they too are becoming like the sunrise. Because of you, they will be all right. I have a dream will always be my favorite speech of all times. Because Dr. King dreamed and radiated kindness, I can also do the same. My children can too. Everyone I come across, everyone that works, learns, even builds with me, is able to also do the same, all because Dr King was our sunrise. Keep dreaming big. Keep radiating kindness for you, for others, today and always.
I observed my kids playing together the other day. One of them has a knack for collecting things. He collects specific things and like to know that they are by his side always. They same goes for the toys he plays with. He prefers for his toys to be in order. But what happens when things are not in order. To put it mildly, chaos ensures. Not only is everyone now looking for that missing toy, but my child is also inconsolable. Nothing you say or do, appeases him. Instead tears, and never ending ones too, are his vice. There are also screams and talking about why he needs to find the toy. We all look for the toy. Everyone from the oldest to the youngest search for the missing toy.
But I observed my smallest kid on one of these days. Everyone was scrambling looking for my oldest son’s missing hand cut planet Saturn that he left in his bucket. My youngest son was playing with it earlier and so naturally we asked if he knew where it was. He didn’t at first. So my oldest son started to cry. We all tried to console him. To no avail. We also started looking all over the house for the handcut planet Saturn. We even told him he could cut another one but still nothing. Then my youngest son joined in the search. He was perceptive and intent on helping his big brother out. Even saying at one point, ‘don’t cry, we will find it for you.’ As if on cue, my youngest son found the handcut Saturn for his brother. His empathy and sympathy was stunning to me. His kindness, refreshing. It my keep for today. In a world where people only think of themselves, where people live and dwell in their own bubbles, kindness matters. Keep it in mind.
There is a shirt my little boy wears all the time. It simply reads ‘radiate kindness.’ That’s all. The 2 words on the shirt are more than information. Radiate kindness should be a way of life. The way people live, the stories they tell, even how we rise or fall, speak up or remain silent, should embody kindness.
There is a strong tendency to demand it from certain folks and not others. We expect those lesser than us to radiate kindness but not us. We get infuriated, demand kindness, forgetting it a force that radiates from our being. But the point is to be kind. Live it, pass it on. It will come back to you.
Every time my son wears the shirt, I become alert. I can’t be a parent if my being isn’t filled with kindness. Every time my children cry for the most mundane thing, I have to be kind. Like yesterday when my son cried because the Planetarium was closed thanks to the pandemic. Crying is an understatement. He knew the Planetarium was closed. We had passed by it numerous times and each time he asked about it, I reminded him that it was closed due to the pandemic. Yesterday was the climax. He was outraged. He screamed, he shouted. He cried, he grieved and no words could console him. Kindness was all I had. So I let it radiate from me to him. I allowed him to cry as we are all tired of the pandemic. I would cry too if I was a child as it has robbed them of their childhood this year. We all have the power to be kind. There are no winners or losers when we absorb it and pass it on. It is the right thing to do. Keep radiating kindness.