Neither genius, fame, nor love show the greatness of the soul. Only kindness can do that.” -Jean Baptiste Henri Lacordaire
Unrestrained generosity as described by scholars: “Something given with no ulterior motive, necessity, or expectation in mind.”
Kindness, as described by Webster: “The ability to show tenderness, consideration, thoughtfulness, humanity, understanding, compassion, graciousness and benevolence.”
I found the term “unrestrained generosity” used in a couple of books I have read lately. It is an act that we can perform every day in many ways. This brings to my mind the fact of how most young children express their appreciation or love for someone or something. So how do we as parents and caregivers mentor our children to keep this skill natural to them as a child and retain it throughout their adult years.
Children do things all the time without the thought process of what the outcome of their action may be. This can be good and sometimes not so desirable. This is an extraordinary role impersonation that you will see children take on from parents, other adults and older children they model.
Simple acts of kindness go a long way with children. Children not only soak up these moments but also love to witness acts of kindness towards others. Whether it is taking in the stray kitten that has wandered on to your porch or helping someone cross the street.
As parents and caregivers of children, it is important to think about the way we respond to different circumstances. They need to see you show them the “kind” response. Exercising our control of temperament and feelings will help your child see and gain that skill. Children sense from us how we are reacting to different individuals and/or situations and will gear their reaction similarly if learned.
This whole thought process brings back the images of September 11, 2001. With events such as these we see many images of unrestrained generosity by individuals, states and countries.
You think of the co-workers that struggled to carry a wheel chair bound co-worker down flights of stairs. You see images of blood donors across the country lining up around city blocks, insisting they be able to do something to help. In a vast system you see harried bureaucrats working with unexpected calm and compassion to get relief and information out to the victims and families. It was an incredible time of word pictures with the intensity and the enormity of the desire to help. It is human nature to help when tragedy strikes especially with something of this magnitude.
Wow! What an incredible impression we would make if we felt that desire on a daily basis. We would all make such a difference by showing our children this concept with acts of kind-
ness to our family members, friends and co-workers. Unfortunately, many times what goes on around us is tempered by our self-interest. Make a mental list to put your priorities in check. At the top of that list put unrestrained generosity to those faces you look upon every day. I challenge you as a parent or caregiver to show the children in your life that you haven’t outgrown this all-important ability to “simply be kind”.
“Paradise is open to all kind hearts.” -Pierre Jean de Beranger
Mary Ellen Carlson has extensive experience in Elementary Education. Before assuming the duties as Director of Heritage House Childcare & Learning Center, she taught at Panama Central School, owned and operated her own home day care, and was the Project Coordinator of “Write Team,” a grant-funded project at the James Prendergast Library.