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Kindness is Contagious!

Happy 2014 from the Boys & Girls Club of the Pikes Peak Region!

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Happy 2014 from the Boys & Girls Club of the Pikes Peak Region!
2013 was a busy year and we only expect to increase momentum through 2014. Last year this blog addressed a number of “hot topics” such as cyberbullying, leadership, heroes, and the people who help make the BGCPPR such a success. I’d like to start off the New Year by addressing what may have been a theme for your family over the holidays - that of kindness.

We are all role models for kindness in our children. Unfortunately, between managing work, parenting, and our own adult issues, it can become all too easy to forget about kindness in our day-to-day lives.I know I’m guilty of it. As I write this blog, and reflect upon the idea of kindness, I am reminded of a time when my son, James Michael, was young.

When James Michael was in fourth grade, he asked his teacher permission to go to the bathroom. As she denied his request, James Michael reacted poorly, making an obscene gesture behind the teacher’s back. Unfortunately, the teacher saw his reflection in the classroom TV screen and promptly sent him to the principal’s office.

Upon picking James Michael up from school, I asked him what in the world had possessed him to do that. My 9-year-old son looked at me and said, “Well, Dad, that’s what YOU do when you’re driving and someone makes you mad.”

I realized that this wasn’t just a learning opportunity for James Michael, but for myself as well. Kindness is learned, but so is reactivity and anger. I made a commitment that day to never use that hurtful gesture again. And to this day, I’ve remained true to my word. What we model as parents - and how we live our lives - really does matter for future generations.

So what is kindness? We hear about it all the time, but do we really know what it is? And what it entails? According to the Stand Up for Kindness Initiative, “kindness is love in action. Kindness is a way of being and doing that leads to a happy life.” We all model kindness in our daily lives - holding a door for a stranger, paying someone a compliment, doing something helpful for someone else are all small acts of kindness.

Kindness can be learned, and kindness can take practice. But once engrained, kindness can become contagious. It can become our best weapon to fight today’s issues of hatred, prejudice, and bullying. Kindness makes any relationship better.

Kindness is also proven to promote physical and psychological well being by having a physiological effect on your brain. Giving, receiving, or witnessing acts of kindness increases serotonin, the neurotransmitter known as the “happy chemical.”

“So when you go through your day and you are kind to others and they are kind to you, you feel happy, “ according to Stand Up for Kindness. “Kindness is the key to a happy life.” Take some time to talk to your child(ren) about kindness - what it is, how we can live it day to day.

Here are some suggestions, courtesy of Stand Up for Kindness.

Kindness can be a smile.
Kindness can be doing something for others because you know it will make them smile.
Kindness can be showing up when someone is in crisis.
Kindness can be giving away something you care about to someone who wants it.
Kindness can be taking the time to listen.
Kindness can be taking the risk to speak out when an injustice has occurred.
Kindness can be taking responsibility for your actions, apologizing when you have done something that has harmed someone.
Kindness can be the willingness to see a different point of view.
Kindness can be allowing people to be where they are, even if it isn’t where you think they should be.
Kindness is compassion in action. Showing you care.
Kindness is visiting people when they are sick.
Kindness can be having the courage to have a hard conversation in a loving and constructive way.
Kindness can be believing in someone when they don’t yet believe in themselves.
Kindness can be being generous, with money or time.

Thank you for reading,

James Sullivan III, President & CEO