From The Record, May 19th
“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” Dalai Lama
One of the greatest things we can do for our world today is a simple act of kindness.
We are bombarded by bad news every time we turn on the radio or the TV. Our world is a difficult and sometimes terrible place to live in. It is even more scary if you happen to be a parent. How can we pass this world onto our children? What can we possibly do to combat all the destructive powers that face us? There are many ways to empower ourselves and our kids to be better citizens, to be engaged and educated, and to foster peace and positivity in the world. I believe that one simple way to work for the good is to be kind. To teach kindness, and to practice acts of kindness. Regardless of your worldview, religious background, or spiritual persuasion, kindness is a uniting force.
There are many ways to teach a child to be kind. Modeling kindness in your relationships, friendships, and interactions with strangers is probably the most important strategy. Sometimes we learn lessons from real-life situations—letting the hurried stranger pass you in line at the grocery store, buying the next person in line’s coffee at Tim Horton’s, or shoveling your neighbour’s driveway after a snow storm. The warm fuzzy feeling of an act of kindness and generosity is magical. The next best thing to an experience of kindness, in real life, is a really good story. There are many great children’s books which share inspirational and heartwarming tales of good deeds. Reading these books with your family and talking about the kind actions can be a great way to inspire kind words and actions, and a way to gently reflect on behaviors of kids who might be struggling. Reading together with your child can be simply a pleasurable pastime, but it also holds the potential for hundreds of teachable moments.
One of my favourite books about kindness and friendship (available at the Lennoxville Library PBS7991asd JUV-E C-72) is “A Sick Day for Amos McGee” by Philip Christian Stead. This book, suitable for pre-schoolers and above, is a simple story of Amos McGee, a devoted Zoo employee, who has great friendships with all the zoo animals. One day, he wakes up to go to work and finds himself bed-bound with a bad cold. His friends at the zoo miss him and his caring actions, but they all take the bus to his house to return his kindness and take care of him for a change. It is beautifully illustrated and fun to read to kids. Caring for someone when they are sick and hurt is a task which parents are intimately familiar with, and this book also allows the reader to explore the compassion and care being given back to the caregiver. Amos McGee takes such good care of his Zoo animals, but we all need a break sometimes!
Taking a more direct approach to teaching children about being kind to one another is the book “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” by Carol McCloud. This book, which is part of a series geared towards different age groups and readers, centres on the analogy that we are all carrying around an invisible bucket which can be filled with good feelings. When we do kind things, it fills up other people’s buckets as well as our own. When we are mean it takes away from others, but also dips into our own bucket. It is a great introduction to the idea of bullies as people who are missing or struggling with something themselves. It is a fun jumping off point for children to understand better how their actions might affect others. The author’s website contains many resources and ideas for a kinder home, school or neighbourhood. (www.bucketfillers101.com)
P.S. Exciting times in the Library!!! Our Library Coordinator has been summoned urgently to other professional callings, and we are HIRING. Applications will be accepted in person right up until next Thursday, May 25th. If you know of someone with any relevant experience please pass on the word. Details can be had on our website www.bibliolennoxvillelibrary.ca, and also our facebook page https://m.facebook.com/BibliothequeLennoxvilleLibrary.
While we are on the subject of jobs, we are also seeking an animator for our Toronto Dominion Summer Reading Club at the library. Beginning in June and lasting for 9 weeks, this is an ideal summer job for full-time university students in education. Again, details are available on our website and facebook page.