I admit it. I lost my cool this morning in front of my son. We were in the pharmacy picking up a prescription. The doctor’s office said they would call in the prescription but when I arrived at the pharmacy and asked if they had received it, they said it wasn’t in their system. So, I walked next door to doctor and they said the pharmacy needed to check their voicemail for the prescription because they called it in hours ago.
Low and behold, the pharmacy staff did not do their job and hadn’t checked the voicemail messages in a few hours. Steam started pouring out of my ears. Why can’t people do their jobs right? I snapped at the clerk and said that it is poor customer service that they do not check for prescriptions coming in through the phone messages. Now I had to wait and this was a waste of my time.
Yes, I said this right in front of my son. Then he said, “Mommy, I think you may have hurt that woman’s feelings.” Yikes. There it was. Nothing feels more awful than being called out by your own kid for doing something you regret.
The Challenges Of Being A Positive Role Model
How many of you can relate to this type of experience? One of the greatest challenges of being a good parent is having to always be a role model to our children. It is exhausting and sometimes we make mistakes.
Look, life is constantly giving us excuses not to be kind to strangers, friends, and those we love. We have deadlines that make us rush. We get bad news that makes us sad and stressed. We are stuck with many mundane responsibilities that annoy us (can we say cleaning up crumbs off the floor?).
On the other hand, we know how important it is to be kind to others. At a seminar I attended, Deepak Chopra explained how critical it is for the health of society that we pass along kindness to those around us to create a happiness chain throughout the world. If we are all mean to each other, we will continue to live in a negative world. But if everyone makes an effort to be kind to someone else, then that person will be happier and want to pass along the positive feeling to the next person.
How To Choose Kindness
So, how do we retain our balance and stay calm when we want to snap at someone? Here are some tips to try next time you feel the anger and frustration boiling up inside you. Let’s also pass them along to our children. I want my children to grow up in a happier world. I want them to have the tools so they can ride the waves of life and deal with stress and challenges better than I do. It’s all about progress and hope for a better future.
- Go back to what you learned in Kindergarten. Robert Fulghum’s well-known book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten gives us some basic directions for being kind. He says to share everything, play fair, don’t hit people, and say sorry when you hurt somebody.
- Stay present so you think before you speak. Just taking a couple of breaths before we react can make all the difference in the world between being kind or being hurtful using words we wish we could erase.
- Try not to take other people’s comments and actions personally. This is definitely something I am working on. I am learning that everyone faces their own struggles and they may not always express kindness when we want them to. That is why they were not friendly this morning at school drop off or didn’t respond to an email. The most important lesson to remember, however, is that we should not give up being kind even if others are not. What happens when your kindness is ignored or unappreciated? Let it go and move on. Try to imagine being in their shoes. Maybe they are suffering right now but will thank you later.
- Don’t beat yourself up if you do or say something unkind in front of your children. Use this as a teachable moment. You can explain that you were wrong, why you weren’t kind in that moment, and that you will try to be nicer in the future. This will help them understand that their parents aren’t perfect and they don’t need to be perfect, either. If you have the opportunity to apologize in front of your children, then you get extra points for teaching kindness!
- Share acts of kindness with your kids. Volunteer as a family and participate in fun challenges like Random Acts of Kindness Week.