One Thing You Can Do to Give Your Kids a Better Future

June 29, 2019

We arrived at the classroom that was full of musical instruments and brightly colored floor tiles, risers and folding chairs lined up in rows to greet us. My husband and I found seats in the front and watched as the students began to file in, waving at smiling parents who returned their greeting.

My daughter Jasmine was performing a variety of tunes and dances she had learned along with the rest of her third-grade class. Between songs, I watched as she bent down quickly to tie her partner’s shoe. Smiling, the little girl with Down's syndrome waited patiently for Jasmine to finish before they both launched into the actions for the next song.

I recognized Jasmine's partner from our conversations about her closest friends and from meeting her at the splash pad the previous summer when she came to play with her aide. Both the little girl and the aide greeted Jasmine with warm hellos and hugs, and the aide was quick to explain how Jasmine  always intentionally included her friend in activities. She also wrote little notes of friendship and encouragement to her friend and the aide throughout the year.

As we walked away, I asked Jasmine more about her friend and why she decided to go out of her way to send her encouraging notes. Shrugging, Jasmine told me, “I didn’t like that some of the kids weren’t nice or wouldn’t include her, Mom.”

That spring morning as the school performance continued, and as I watched Jasmine and her friend dance together, smiling widely the whole time, I realized the quiet strength that undergirds our kindness towards others. How our ability to include and extend a hand—not just out of politeness, but in true friendship—to another is not a weakness but a strength.

It’s easy to be kind to those whom we think might someday return the favor—a person with influence or someone we recognize as being a lot like us in lifestyle or culture. Yet we are reminded in James 2 that the depth of our inward faith is revealed by our outward actions, especially the way in which we treat others who cannot or will not return the favor, those who don’t look exactly like us, or those who are not powerful or influential. Being kind and loving only to those who are likely to be kind and loving to us, while nice, is not really an accomplishment. In fact, it doesn’t even set us apart from the rest of the world as people who love and follow Christ. Instead, kindness requires us to look beyond ourselves and reach out to those whom the world undervalues or overlooks.

Too often, kindness gets a bad rap. Because it requires vulnerability, it’s easily mistaken for weakness. Yet what we’ve come to realize in our quest to live a life of kindness is that true kindness requires a God-whispered, audacious strength to stand up, speak up, or step into situations that appear to be beyond our own strength. And sometimes, it means that we step out of the spotlight, bend low to help another, or simply tie someone else’s shoe when they can’t do it themselves.

Want more encouragement and inspiration?

For more ideas on how you can impact your own community with kindness, we are thrilled to announce that our newest book, 100 Days Of Kindness, will be released this fall and available online and at your local retailer!

For more information or to preorder the book, click the links below:

Tyndale
Christianbook.com
Barnes & Noble
Amazon

You can also check out a preview of the first few days here, courtesy of our publisher.

We can't wait to see your family grow, change, and become more engaged with the needs of the world around them. Connect with us on social media to let us know how kindness is changing your family!

Kristin, Kendra & Julie

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