At SPARK, we understand that while kindness is powerful, it also takes practice! And kindness is more fun and effective when practiced together! The following are tips and resources for kids, caregivers, families and community members on how we can bring compassion and hope to the world.
- Begin with kindness to yourself. As author Jack Kornfield says, "If compassion does not include yourself it is incomplete." Practicing self compassion is critical. When you face a challenge - give yourself a break and talk to yourself as you would a good friend. Your self kindness will emanate to others, including those in your care.
- Widen your circle of empathy. It is easier to have empathy for people who look like us, talk like us and believe as we do. Kindness challenges us to "widen our circle of empathy" to include people who may be very different from us and therefore outside our radar of concern in our daily lives.
- Start with small acts. Kindness does not need to be a grand gesture to make a huge impact. Small acts done with great generosity can change someone's day and even their life.
- Encourage someone. During difficult times, people need to be reminded of their strengths. Recognizing and mirroring someone's gifts is an act of profound kindness. A smile, a note or a compliment can make a difference.
- Make kindness a family/personal value. Remind yourself and your family that kindness is a priority in your lives. Talk about kindness as a "personal or family value" that is more important than other markers of success.
- Get creative + fun! Make practicing kindness a joyful practice. We have included projects on our website and in the links below to help make kindness, fun, creative and a task of togetherness.
- Thank the helpers (practice gratitude). As Mister Rogers famously suggested, it is important (and hopeful) to "look to the helpers" in times of challenge. It is also powerful to "thank the helpers" - reach out in kindness to thank the people who make a difference in our lives.