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Kindness and Success

Raising kids. Some day-- perhaps today-- it'll be your turn. And what are the values that you'll pass along to them? What would you like them to think about, when they think of you?

Ironically, the thing that got me thinking most recently about values-- and landed me specifically on the value of kindness-- was an article printed in the Chicago Tribune newspaper (reprinted from the Internet publisher, Inc.), in celebration of World Kindness Day--and believe me, the Trib is not a hug-a-tree kind of publication.

The title to the article was, "Valuing kindness over success" and one line in particular, struck me: "Acceptance is a great way to promote happiness". The kind of acceptance that the article went on to extoll, is the acceptance of others and their personal quirks or proclivities-- which is something that I (most likely, all of us) need to be reminded of, from time to time.

But there is another kind of acceptance that I struggle with (most likely, all of us-- particularly those of us in the legal profession)-- self-acceptance. That may strike a lot of folks as kind of new-agey, but it really isn't. And self-acceptance goes a long way toward impacting how we are perceived by others--especially, our kids. Remember, this post is all about the kids!*

Back to the article I was reading, for a moment-- it had some great suggestions, that were very specific:

     1. At the dinner table, ask your kids what they did that day, to help others. Talk about what you did to help others;

     2. Don't badger your kids to talk about acts of kindness. Positive reinforcement for conversation offered spontaneously, is always more effective;
     3. Accept your kids and their personalities (as long as they are kind and respectful of others), and my absolute favorite;

     4. Read great books that tell stories reinforcing kindness, tolerance and acceptance-- they're great conversation starters.

A lot has been written about mindfulness and meditation programs in grade schools, junior or high schools-- even law schools-- all of which, is tremendous. But a word to us wizened, skeptical adults-- don't forget about the power of kitchen table conversation and good books!

Kindness is the root of many critical life skills-- civility, generosity, empathy, anti-bullying-- the list is endless. And as a focus of thought and action, the quality of kindness can't be emphasized enough. It's the very heart of human dignity, and is deserving of our full attention.

As reported recently in the Los Angeles Times newspaper, UCLA has formally announced a privately endowed program known as the Bedari Kindness Institute, which was founded to study and spread kindness through various online programs, public lectures, media outreach and a free app called "UCLA Mindful". Wow.

Kindness, empathy, self-acceptance. They're all qualities that inspire success, both personally and professionally!

* November 20 is World Children's Day, and the immediate past celebration was the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the rights of the Child.


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