“My secret power is that I simply believe in other people to an extraordinary degree. I give them credit. I appreciate them. I strive to be their best cheerleader. I don’t judge; I empathize and challenge and cheer and sometimes I believe in them more than they do. Care for others and your success will be taken care of.” Brendon Burchard Motivational Speaker and Author
I just don’t understand it, this, this “culture of unkindness.”
I’ve had several jarring and thought provoking conversations with parents this past week. Incidents of name calling, inappropriate behavior, rudeness, making fun of, and down right bullying. There’s no place for it in my book. In my life. In my radar…it should be nonexistent. Frankly, my kids and I don’t see it often. We don’t experience any sort of this on a regular basis. So when I do hear about friends, friends of my kid’s friends, actually experiencing these issues it sort of blows my mind. All kinds of momma bear responses rise up inside me. “SAY WHAT?!” Claws out…roarrrrr! “Oh, H-E-double hockey sticks, NO!”
Haven’t we evolved past this? Any kind of exclusivity based on what someone is wearing, the color of their skin or hair, what they own, what they don’t, (and a whole slew of other things) just isn’t acceptable. AT ALL.
(Sigh.) Parents, where are we? (Pause)
Seriously, where are we, you guys? Are we volunteering to walk the halls and sit on the bus? Are we offering to pick up a working parent’s kiddo from school? Are we staying at our kids lesson or practice and observing? Are we handing out granola bars after school, because maybe that’s the last thing some of these kids get to eat that day? Are we smiling? Waving at our neighbor? Are we making our kids write thank you notes? Saying please and thank you?
Are we TALKING to our kids about what to do and say in a situation? Are we giving them tools and words? Are we SHOWING them what true kindness looks like?
Are we going above and beyond? Are we doing more than the minimum?
I had so many “God pushy” moments these last few days. “Okaaaay, already! I got the message! I’ll make time to type! I’ll make time to say something. To get this conversation going.”
So let me attempt to piece together all the many truth nuggets God has been showing me directly related to this topic. It’s sort of wild…! I’m trying so hard to pay attention. I won’t go into every detail of every situation. But it’s like my heart is screaming to shake the shoulders of the world to just BE KIND!
*Words from our pastor: “Be a Champion of the Light!” “See everyone as having potential”
*Random conversation that turned my insides out: “Well, I’m going to have to buy my kid expensive name brands just to fit in and not get picked on.”
*A friend: “I pulled the car over!” After hearing how her kid responded to another kid being racially bullied.
*Another friend: We just kinda hugged tight. No words needed.
*Set up a play date with a kid that needs some extra love and attention because of the family situation.
*A social media friend describing how her son had a hard day of name calling abuse at school:
1. “Hey. Stop. What you’re saying and doing is not ok.” Stand up for yourself and others. 2. Get a person in authority if needed. Tell your parents. 3. Respond with ridiculous love! How that looks depends on the situation…that might mean a kind note, an apology, sharing a treat, just smiling at them, and it also might mean setting a firm boundary and not interacting with that kid.
* A text from a friend: “please pray for me how to handle this tough situation with bullying on the school bus.”
*Group discussion of how we are to love each other and what that looks like: “All the hurts in the world weigh incredibly heavy on me. That’s something that I’ve recognized about myself and am continually working on. Not to take on everyone else’s problems, to not let it all keep me up at night. But how do I respond? And what I’ve learned is to respond with simple kindness, which is something I can do. It really does go a long way and makes a difference.” -me.
*From my kids: We’re over here welcoming the gorgeous Phoenix weather. I asked each of them to pick out a Bible verse and change out the letter boards. “You know, something springy!” I said. (The photos in this post are the two verses they chose.) Boom! God’s talking. Listen up and live in victory.
For us, every single day is different. That’s our life. Homeschooling small business owners. New issues arise that literally drop me to my knees on a daily basis. But maybe that should be our first response.
Last week, as my husband rushed out the door before the sun was up, I realized he had forgotten something. I ran out to the truck in the cold rain, soaking my wool socks. Reaching through the window I handed him paperwork and then we grabbed onto each other and prayed. (Running your own business is not for the faint of heart folks. Holy moly we do so much and deal with a lot!) It was an impulse response to grab onto him and pray. But it spurred a whole domino effect…
As I did a quick-step tip toe dance back into the house, I had that ah ha, light bulb moment. That was what our first reaction should be! Cry out to God for help. Maybe it’s in a whisper. Maybe it’s bawling our eyes out. Maybe its throwing ourselves on the bed in frustration. Maybe it’s literally getting on our knees and surrendering. Humbling ourselves and asking for help from the only one that can truly offer solution and peace; that should always be the first thing we do.
“For the Lord takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with victory.” Psalm 149:4
So after peeling off my wet socks, I plunked down in the squishy reading chair. I sat there in the dark going, “ok, now what, God?” Minutes later my phone buzzed. It was a message from Thomas sharing a goofball spoof clip of a comedy show we’ve watched in the past. What should have been a backdrop for a serious situation was made light hearted by an impromptu 90’s boy band sing along song. I smiled at the irony and sang it in my head (I didn’t want to wake up the kids!) then went…OH! Music! Time and time again I witness music, all types of music, breaking down walls. Music has the power to evoke intense emotion, trigger our mind, make us dance, diffuse tense situations and ultimately bring people together. It is a gift. And it ushers in the discernment and the power of the Holy Spirit.
So I started humming praise music. When you don’t know what to do you just start praising and thanking God! (Where’s my tambourine?!) Just do it. Because it’s when we let go, when we give up control, when we just thank God in our worship, that clarity comes.
“To dance in the rain. You must first learn to praise Him in the storm.” -quote
So there I sat in the dark, eyes closed, just praising quietly. Cause I didn’t know what else to do. I kind of felt teary and emotional and was thinking about all the hard work we do. All the maybes, and what ifs, and the nevers started creeping in. I really started feeling sorry for myself. Suddenly, it hit me! Eyes flew open and I went, “Oh no, no no no, not today Satan! Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever!” Ah ha!
We need to speak out! (Insert momma bear roar!) Speak out against the evils in the world. This “culture of unkindness” is not something we have to accept. It isn’t something we have to put up with. It isn’t how it’s supposed to be. In fact, unkindness is completely unacceptable and I for one will stand up and speak out! Let’s have a CULTURE OF KINDNESS!
HEY! YOU HUGE PROBLEM! GOD IS TALKING TO YOU! LISTEN UP CAUSE HE’S HERE TO CHANGE THE WORLD!
So remember the three step process to responding and facing any situation.
1. Ask for God’s help!
2. Crank up the tunes!
3. Speak up and speak out!
I’m over here trying to be your best cheerleader! So spread kindness. Teach your kids to be the change. Share the love. I’m proud of you.
You are a CHAMPION OF THE LIGHT
Great resources for kindness inspiration:
* THE BIBLE!!!
* “Kind is the New Classy” By Candace Cameron Bure
* “The Kindness Diaries” By Leon Logothetis (Book and Netflix Documentary Series)
* “Start Something that Matters” by Blake Mycoskie (TOMS Founder)
* “Wonder” (the book and movie)