As Black Friday beckons, many of us are already planning ahead in order to enjoy amazing deals on the best brand-name products and services. Although economics play an important role within our daily lives, the fact of the matter is that Black Friday has become increasingly chaotic in recent times. A growing number of parents are taking on entirely pragmatic positions and becoming money-saving machines as opposed to role models. Being kind is now taking a back seat to saving a few pounds on that mobile phone or HD television. Not only does this cause a great deal of stress, but we will often lose sight of how being kind offers up the most profound sense of wealth; particularly in reference to our children.
Are We Losing Everyday Kindness in These Modern Times?
According to recent statistics, one in every six individuals will report feelings of depression or anxiety during any given week. Others are unhappy with their jobs or less than satisfied with their relationships. The main issue with any of these situations is that they can cause us to become jaded and solely focus upon the turmoil and unhappiness within.
We live in an age seemingly more and more defined by material goods and services. The almighty dollar, pound and euro are now seen as being the equivalents to emotional happiness. When we begin to focus too much upon the physical world, we begin to lose the very emotion that defines us as humans: the ability to be kind to others. The frightening thing is that many of us are unaware of the existence of such a condition until we begin to hurt those around us.
How Did Becoming a Father Reshape My View of Kindness?
When I became a father I felt naturally unprepared for all of the possibilities and responsibilities that awaited. I had many a thought that I would fail at being a parent and I must admit that I was quite afraid. After all, my previous priorities had consisted of going to the pub, earning a decent salary and taking the wife out to a nice restaurant a few times each month, and generally doing my best to avoid a divorce process! I suddenly found that real-word concerns took immediate precedence over nearly everything else. Private health insurance, pension plans, finding a child-friendly neighbourhood and quitting smoking quickly thrust me into the “adult” world.
It was not until the very first time that I gazed into the eyes of my son that I realised that we all have what it takes to become a kind father. All of us can be warm and gentle. This was the exact point when my concept of affection and warmth began to change. Children do not demand material goods. They are not concerned about the latest model of smartphone, the number of pixels associated with a 54-inch OLED smart television, or even the latest baby gadgets. A simple smile and embrace will do. I soon began to realise that such affection also had a profoundly positive impact upon my emotional state and outlook towards life.
What Can We do to Instil More Kind-Hearted Feelings Within Ourselves?
This is actually much more of a challenging question that it might appear. One of the first things that I needed to do was to take a step back and attempt to define the concept of happiness. I soon began to realise that “happiness” was not at all what I had once believed it to be. Black Friday was a perfect example. I witnessed untold number of shoppers milling about as if their lives depended upon taking advantage of the latest deal. Not only did this seem entirely unnecessary, but none of them appeared to be content.
I realised that in order to instil kind-hearted feelings and emotions within ourselves, we must try to view the world through the looking glass of the child. What really matters in life? Although we can certainly put a price tag on the latest kitchen appliance, how would we value love, caring and tenderness? When I began to appreciate the priceless nature of these emotions, it became immediately clear that I needed to become open to their presence in order to feel the benefits that they had to offer. That’s why initiatives like Thoughtful Friday are so brilliant too - taking the hectic nature of Black Friday and really focusing on what matters.
Three tips to transfer kindness to our children
How can we teach our children to embrace this very same sense of empathy? We should first begin by realising that we serve as their role models. They will imitate our behaviours. Three powerful suggestions to keep in mind are:
- Always treat others with the respect that they deserve.
- Never lash out in anger, particularly if your child is present.
- Emphasise that money and material goods can never replace happiness.
Children work best with reinforcement, so try to incorporate these suggestions as much as possible within your daily life. I know for a fact that they have worked quite well for me since my son was born. As a result, Black Friday is simply another day of the year as opposed to a free-for-all failing to take into account the needs of others.