“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” – Henry James
Apparently today (February 17) is National Random Acts of Kindness Day… which begs the question “Do we really need a day to remind us to be kind to others? ”
Isn’t kindness an act of simple human decency – one that should come naturally … whenever, however, and to whomever? It certainly should be.
I encourage you to read The Dalai Lama: A Policy of Kindness, by Sidney D. Piburn. It is a beautiful selection of vignettes written by and about His Holiness The Dalai Lama. You don’t have to be a Buddhist or even have any knowledge of Buddhism to read and appreciate this book.
Kindness begins at home and, as such, our children’s treatment of others is – more often than not – a reflection of our own behavior. There are some really good, age-appropriate books that teach children the importance of kindness. I’ve listed some of them below.
Ages 4 -6
- A Sick Day for Amos McGee – by Philip Stead
- Hey, Little Ant – by Philip and Hannah Hoose
- How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends? – by Jane Yolen
- How Kind – by Mary Murphy
- The Lion and the Mouse – by Jerry Pinkney
- The Mine-O-Saur –by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
- Stone Soup – by Jon J. Muth
- Stellaluna – by Janell Cannon
- Toot & Puddle – by Holly Hobbie
- All Families Are Special – by Norma Simon
- The Ant Bully – by John Nickle
- Enemy Pie – by Derek Munson
- Have You Filled a Bucket Today? – by Carol McCloud
- Horace and Morris But Mostly Dolores – by James Howe
- The Giving Tree – by Shel Silverstein
- The Golden Rule – by Ilene Cooper
- Kindness Is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler – by Margery Cuyler
- Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed – by Emily Pearson
- When Sophie Gets Angry–Really, Really Angry – by Molly Bang
- Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch – by Eileen Spinelli
- The Story of Ruby Bridges – by Robert Coles
Ages 9 -11
- Bluish – by Virginia Hamilton
- Hanna’s Suitcase – by Karen Levine
- Number the Stars – by Lois Lowry
- Ryan and Jimmy and the Well in Africa That Brought Them Together – by Herb Shoveller
Ages 12 +
- Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories – by Dawn Metcalf
- Freak the Mighty – by Rodman Philbrick
- Mockingbird – by Kathryn Erskine
- To Kill a Mockingbird – by Harper Lee
And there are so many more – for children and adults alike. Think of the wonderful conversations you can have with your children, while reading these books together!
One would hope that kindness is innate. However, sometimes we may need a reminder. In addition to books about kindness, look to some of the iconic men and women whose lives serve as an inspiration to all of us… like Mother Teresa, Pope Francis, The Dalai Lama and so many more. Their life stories will ignite the kindness spark that lives within each of us.
So, make every day your “Random Acts of Kindness Day.” And while you’re at it, remember to be kind to yourself.
“Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.” – Barbara de Angelis