We Should Teach Our Children Kindness

Shutterstock / Barabasa
Shutterstock / Barabasa

Life is an adventure, a constant exploration of reality. As kids growing up we read wild fantasy novels and watch immaculate movies, all dreaming of one day going on our own adventure. Then we grow up and think the fantasies of our childhood were all made up. We have kids and teach them to say please and thank you. We have spouses and only get them presents on holidays. Then 40 years pass by, and the eight year old reading Harry Potter in his bedroom is long gone.

What if we created a new reality? Certainly we can’t create things like magic and dragons, but what if we created something greater than these things? As we tuck in our children at night, let’s tell them of an adventure greater than Harry Potter, greater than Star Wars, greater than anything a human being could ever describe in a story.

In terms of conventional advice, it is often wise for us to keep our desires in check. If we spend our entire lives chasing after infallible dreams, never content with where we are, we will only be miserable. As people we are told to accept ourselves for who we are, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. That is an incredibly beautiful and endearing sentiment to remember. Keeping that in mind will only lead to peace in your heart.

But that is not enough. At least, not for you. You were born for more.

You were born for more than a life of peace. Your heart was created for more than to simply beat in a straight, monotone line. Your heart craves adventure! It craves the greatest adventure a human being could ever set forth on.

It craves kindness.

It craves the constant struggle of acting on what is truly right, regardless of how it hurts yourself. It craves the creation of a world where humans do not act in their own self-interest, but in the interest of others.

And in many ways, this is the most difficult adventure a human being could ever set forth on. More difficult than slaying a mighty dragon, or even waging war against an evil empire! Kindness is a war of the mind, a war against the ego. This war cannot be illustrated. This war is only felt in the smallest moments, when the ego pounds away in the mind, begging us to do whatever is easiest and safest for ourselves.

And this war is different for every one of us, in every moment of our life. There are the tiny battles like incidental eye contact and a smile at strangers passing by, to the biggest battles such as revealing our most sincere feelings to those who matter most to us. Big or small, the most important battles of our lives will be battles of the heart. In the end our own joy will not be the only sole thing that matters, but the joy we give others. The feeling that rises within them when they see us, as if they are cared for, as if they are loved.

As our children grow up they may only want to be happy. But as we tuck in their covers and turn out the light, we will not tell them to search for happiness. We will tell them to search for kindness, to search for love.

We will tell them that they may never find enough, and that’s OK. Because in the end, we will not be remembered for our pleases and thank you’s (although they are certainly important), but our struggle to create something more.

Then we’ll fall asleep, floating along in this beautiful adventure we’ve created for ourselves. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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