Those of us with kiddos in our lives are readying for the end of the school year. Until now, the long-awaited summer months were the most anticipated times for great fun, frivolity and family adventure. Are we equipped for a different type of transition this year – when many trips, adventures and summer camps have been cancelled? This may be the most out-of-the-ordinary summer of our entire lives, with great uncertainty about what lies beyond.
Never underestimate the power of the young mind. Inquisitiveness and resilience are hallmarks of childhood, and oh boy, can this serve our kids well right now! And brain science tells us that they can benefit from something else as well: receiving, sharing and expanding kindness. Performing intentional acts of kindness builds trust and acceptance between people, laying the foundation for social bonds and fostering personal social skills. Additionally, practicing kindness develops perspective-taking skills and increases a sense of overall well-being.
Our partner on the Kindness Initiative – Ted Dreier, founder of the Children’s Kindness Network – shares this observation from his experience cultivating a mindset of kindness among young children. “Twenty-two years ago, I created Moozie the cow to teach and model kindness for young children. Over the years, it has never ceased to amaze me how hungry children are for kindness – and how quick they are to practice it themselves. Making kindness a daily staple from a young age creates a multiplier effect of positivity that can raise up a child, a family and even a community.”
For parents and other caring adults in our kids’ lives, I would add one brain-healthy suggestion. You might be worried and stressed on your kids’ behalf, but I ask you to REFRAME. Rather than becoming a generation that falls behind, what if the kids are actually AHEAD? Here are excerpts from a post a friend recently shared with me (author unknown):
- What if they have more empathy, they enjoy family connection, they can be more creative and entertain themselves?
- What if they enjoy the simple things, like their own backyard, sitting near a window in the quiet, and the calming renewal of a gentle rain shower?
- What if they are the ones to place great value on our teachers and educational professionals, public servants and previously invisible essential support workers, just to name a few of the millions taking care of us while we are sheltered in place?
- What if among these children, a great leader emerges who had the benefit of a slower pace and a simpler life to truly learn what really matters in this life?
I hope you enjoy this and share it with your community. Let’s keep exploring the endless ways in which we can all become more attuned to our brain health each and every day. Stay well!
Published May 21, 2020
See more messages from our Chief Director, Sandra Chapman, PhD here.