Friday, September 26, 2014

Kindness at Home by Somer Christensen

During the past week, I have been canning peaches.  Knowing that they're sticky goodness had permeated every nook and cranny of my kitchen and anticipating my kids getting home from school, I wiped off the counter where they sit and do homework. As they each sat in their stool asking for help or telling me about their day, I noticed papers sticking to countertops and as they lifted them I could see the bits of peach on the back sides. No matter how we tried to clean off the stickiness, we never seemed to get it all. I had visions of peach laden homework making teachers desks and classmates papers as sticky as our kitchen. 

In the same way our attitudes are sticky; the way we treat each other at home has a lasting effect that will permeate classrooms and work environments, every place we come in contact with other people. Joseph B. Wirthlin said,  "Kindness is the essence of a celestial life. Kindness is how a Christlike person treats others. Kindness should permeate all of our words and actions at work, at school, at church, and especially in our homes." (General Conference, April 2005, The Virtue of Kindness.)

As mothers, we "are primarily responsible for the nurture of [our] children"  and as such we often set the tone in our home. Which makes the phrase "kindness begins with me" something I know I need to take to heart, but it isn't just applicable to moms. Kindness is an important virtue for everyone in the family. Some days being kind is easier than others, but there are three habits I have learned that help me to be more kind to those around me:

First, slow down. When I am in a hurry it is difficult to take the time to be kind. I am rushed and brisk with my family and I don't notice the needs of those around me. I try not to over schedule and to allow extra time for the unexpected but sometimes this isn't possible, and sometimes I just have to decide what matters most and let the other things go. We can be busy without feeling rushed; I find that if I stop during those busy times and take a moment to clear my head I can chase away that stressful hurried feeling, often that pause involves a prayer. 

Which leads to the second thing, pray often. Pray for opportunities to show love, to serve, to find peace within yourself, to remain calm, to speak gentle words, to not judge, to avoid criticism. The best way I have found to love others and show them kindness is to pray that I may see them as our Heavenly Father sees them. "We are all children of our Heavenly Father. And we are here with the same purpose: to learn to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves." ( The Virtue of Kindness, Joseph B. Wirthlin).

This third habit I find helpful is just that, make kindness a habit.  Practice kindness every day.  Return someone's shopping cart; compliment a friend, leave a quarter in the vending machine...Just do something every single day, and then do a lot of somethings.  Soon being kind becomes part of your nature.

We all know that person that makes us feel amazing--be that person.  "May we be models of kindness.  May we ever live up to the words of the Savior; 'By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."

Be sure to check out Cranial Hiccups today for another post on the Family Proclamation.

The author of this post is a creator of all things lovely and of good report, with an eye for beauty, and a heart of gold.  She is also my sister-in-law Somer Christensen!

1 comment:

  1. I love the little posters (or whatever you call them). Beautiful advice! Thanks for sharing.