As I sit in my son’s bedroom rocking him to sleep I realize these moments are fleeting. He’s quickly outgrowing my lap as I rock him to sleep. I listen to his slow rhythmic breathing that indicates he’s just moments away from his deep slumber and I think about how much he has grown in these two short years. It’s easy for my mind to drift as I sit in the darkness and think about his future and the little boy he will continue to grow up to be.
What are my hopes for my son, what do I picture for him as he grows into a boy and then a man?
The first thing that comes to mind is being kind. I hope my son is kind. There are big parts of me that pray for him to be smart and brave, or even athletic and charming. But of all the things I hope he will accomplish and be, being kindhearted leads the pack.
As with many things I believe kindness is something you are born with but need to practice to make it stick.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the negativity in the world, just watch the nightly news. If it weren’t for the feel-good piece at the end, I would be a mess. But I fully believe we are ambassadors of this world and are here to not only look out for ourselves and our families but each other.
How do I help my son grow his kindness muscles?
By practicing and including him in small acts of kindness every day. It’s as simple as when he sees me at the store letting someone ahead of us in line with just a few groceries compared to our overfilling cart. Or when we are creek stomping and we bring a garbage bag to collect the litter scattered on the bank he sees that we don’t just need to be gentle with people but nature as well. We never miss an opportunity to hold open doors for people when we are walking into a restaurant and we always offer to share our snacks at the park.
Are these big, grand gestures? No, but I genuinely believe practicing kindness is a lifestyle and it’s a lifestyle I hope my son inherits. If I had one wish for my son and the man he turns in to it would be that he would be a helper. That he didn’t sit idly by when he saw a need that he could meet. That kindness wasn’t just something he practiced but who he was.
It’s so easy to put your unfulfilled hopes and dreams into your visions for your child’s future. Or even wanting them to relive or capture the best part of your childhood. But if I were to be asked and could only answer one thing about my biggest aspirations for my son I would say that he was kind and lived a life of kindness. I think with that the rest will fall in to place.