Monday, July 21, 2014

Kindness Wins

I recently read a blog post on Huffington Post from a dad who thought that people on planes need to suck it up and just deal with it when a baby or toddler or child acts up on the flight.  He thought that parents who make little goody bags to hand out to those around them (with candy and earplugs and a note of explanation) was too much to put on parents who are already stressed about flying with their kids.

I appreciate his point of view.  Except I'd want him to shift it a bit.  Because I think a lot of our culture views the world with this "screw you" type of attitude.  This... entitled... attitude.

"I'm entitled to a peaceful and quiet flight!"

"I'm entitled to not have people complain about my crying baby!"

What if we flip it around and find ways to skip the entitlement and seek out kindness?

"That poor mom with the kid having a meltdown in the middle of the store... I'll give her a kind smile to let her know I support her."

"My kid is being extra loud in this restaurant, I will take her outside to deal with this issue so we don't disturb the other customers."

What if we found ways to specifically show kindness and support of others instead of immediately judging and jumping to conclusions about the people around us?

Not only would other people feel better... but each of us would feel better, too.  Trust me.  Your insides will feel better when you are treating others with kindness, when you seek to show love through service.  Your insides feel yucky when your thoughts and words are yucky.

What if we all started to expect kindness and understanding from others?

Sarcasm and pointed jabs and backhanded comments only seek to hurt others, to make a barbed point, to make Us seem bigger than Them.  Kindness leave Us and Them feeling better.

Kindness wins.

sig jan 2014 photo owlsig.jpg


Mickey said...

When RJ was less than a year old, I had to fly a lot for work and he went with me. The advice I was given was to make sure I had a bag of Hershey's kisses to hand out when he was being distracting to other passengers. It was great advice and worked. That little chocolate kiss is a great ice breaker.

Angie S. said...

This really resonated with me. I think about this when I hear stories about parents who are accused of being neglectful or careless when their kids are out alone. There was a story about a woman who was shamed at a restaurant by another woman for leaving her 4-year-old at the table while she took her toddler to the bathroom to change his diaper. Or the instance where a neighbor called Child Services on my neighbor when her 10-year-old son was locked out of the house and she saw him sitting on the porch. If we showed each other kindness, and tried to be helpful in a useful, productive way, we could avoid those "Screw you!" situations. Say a prayer for a parent in a situation you know all too well, offer to help instead of focusing on how you've been inconvenienced in some way, be gracious when others try to help you. A little kindness goes a long way.

Momza said...

I have traveled many times by air with an infant or two and toddlers. Well, I have taken all 5 children with me on a flight from Phoenix to Gatwick, UK...that's a 10 hour flight, btw. I haven't experienced melt-downs by any of them, ever. And I think it has to do with my preparation and theirs and the scheduling of the flights. First of all, choose non-stop flights if at all possible. And fly early in the morning if it's a short flight or as in the case of our transatlantic flight, leave as late as possible--we left Phoenix at 10pm so that they kids slept the entire way to the UK and woke up just 20 minutes before landing.
Timing makes a difference! Also, have a backpack for each traveler: Have snacks inside, coloring or activity books (or Ipads) for school age kiddos, chewing gum for air pressure, something special for the trip for each kiddo that they can use independently and quietly.
Get to the airport early and un-rushed, well-fed and changed. Let the kids wear comfy clothing and shoes. It takes some planning but doing so makes the trip a pleasant one.

Karen M. Peterson said...

Absolutely. Could NOT agree more with you here.

Kindness is the best answer to pretty much every situation. It makes us feel better, it puts other people at ease, and often disarms a contentious situation.