We as parents know from experience that in the big picture of life, kindness and happiness are closely linked. Kids, however, do not have the life experience to see this big picture. In their life with friends or at school, retaliating against the kid who teased them often seems like the better choice. The more we can explain and model the inherent benefits of kindness to both others and themselves, the more this dynamic will be clear to them.
This is another area where research is our friend. Numerous studies have shown that even among middle schoolers, those who practice kindness are more popular, happier and less likely to be bullied.
A real struggle for the soul of America is going on. I hope that we can remember to value the qualities that have truly made us great, a country that others look up to because we value truth and justice. Rearing kids to have good values, to be kind, and emphasizing it in our own lives, is crucial. Without human decency the country rips apart into a Mad Mac world. That is not the America that most of us signed up for. TRW