The morning began as a typical morning; I poured a cup of coffee, rushed to make breakfast, rushed to get kids ready, tried to remember to get myself ready(to avoid that horrible dream about driving to school in my pj's), and there was a minor scuffle between the kids about whose turn it was to choose the movie for movie night. Throughout the bickering, I continued to remind my little angels that kindness was king. I gently shared that if they chose kindness to express themselves, they'd be more likely to get the results they were looking for. Of course this was translated to "kid-like" language for understanding purposes. I was rather pleased with myself for using this opportunity to teach such an important quality.
My confidence began to wane on the car ride to school as my children's voices rose to, let's just say; an uncomfortable level. Add in an inconsiderate driver cutting me off which led to an inappropriate, "what a jerk!" Not exactly, what I want my kids to hear me say. As I pulled up to my son's school, ten minutes late and kids still arguing, I put the car in park and in a very stern voice said, "BE KIND TO EACH OTHER!" With all the fervor of an out of control football coach. They stopped yelling and their eyes were like deer in headlights as they stared at me. Not so pleased with myself now. Where did I go wrong?!?
I was trying to teach them about kindness instead of showing them kindness. It would've been fine to "share" how kindness works but, what I was really doing was forcing my agenda on them when it just wasn't a "teaching moment". If they listened to my ohsowise words, they would immediately show kindness to each other and decide as a perfect little team how to choose the movie together. Everyone would be happy and it would be a perfect world. Kindness can't be taught in five minutes. It has to be demonstrated consistently. Perhaps if I'd kept my cool when the guy cut me off and interrupted the kids to say, "Wow, I bet that guy is having a tough day. I wonder what might have happened for him to be in such a hurry? Poor guy, I hope the rest of his day is better." Even if you don't completely believe it, THAT would be a real life teaching moment.