Kurt Vonnegut, an American author best known for the novels Cat’s Cradle, Slaughterhouse-Five, and Breakfast of Champions, wrote some of the most important words I’ve ever read, in his novel God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, or Pearls Before Swine, which was published in 1965:
“Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you’ve got a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies-‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.'”
This quote is everything. It has all the words our kids need to hear. It has all the words every single parent needs to hear. This trumps getting good grades. It is more important than teaching our kids how to be the best speller. It speaks louder than any athletic award. People won’t really remember those things about you anyway; they will remember if you were a good person, if you were kind and compassionate.
Kindness is a tool, and the only way to fix the brokenness in our world is to be kind and raise kind humans.
The only way we are going to heal hurt is to be kind and raise kind humans.
The only way to move forward is to be kind and raise kind humans.
Kindness is critical, and the power of kindness is underestimated.
You can feel kindness in your soul. Kindness can change lives which in turn will change the world and make it a better place. Vonnegut wrote it in a novel in the ’60s — we needed his words then, and we still need them today. Being kind should be a habit. It doesn’t go out of style, and it looks good on everyone.
If we can’t lead by example and teach our kids the importance of this message, things will never progress or get better. I know it, and you know it, and so we must do it. We must set the example, model the behavior, and be the person we want our children to emulate.
If you see someone struggling, have compassion. Don’t rush to judgment. Stop yourself when you think about lashing out at someone just because you are having a shitty day. When you greet your kids after school, ask them how they were kind that day.
In order to be kind, we can’t just talk about it. We have to do it. Kindness requires action, but it’s not hard.
I’m not talking about being perfect. I am not saying we aren’t going to have slip-ups. I am merely suggesting that you think about the times when you were treated with kindness, even if you didn’t deserve it, and remember how it made you feel.
I know I’ve had my fair share of these moments when I was being an asshole and someone showed my the right way to act, and it immediately softened my anger.
Our world needs more kindness, and today is a damn good day to start. To raise kind kids, we have to be be kind adults.