good life with terri moore
Part of cultivating a good life is teaching kindness.
I have many great memories of my mother. Some are vague and some are sharp and crisp. As a mother myself, I look back and see that she had an overwhelming amount of love for her children. You could it see through the kindness she gave us everyday.
She was a stay-at-home mom. I remember coming home from school on a rainy day to a pot of chicken noodle soup that she had made for an after school snack. Some days it was homemade chocolate chip cookies. Some days it was a treat from a store. I remember notes in my lunches. Taking us to the movies. Having friends come over. It was a hug. An I love you.
From an early age I know I was taught to be kind. Holding a door for someone. Saying hello in the hall to someone you don’t know. Taking a meal to someone in need. A smile. A friend. A shoulder to cry on. A listening ear. A helping hand. These are all things that require action. I know because I saw my mother do them.
For many years I have thought about how to teach children to be kind. For some children it is harder to teach kindness and how to be kind. For other children it is easy. I feel blessed because I think all three of my children are the latter. Now one of them might have a harder time than the other two, but I do know that it is there.
My other full-time job is a preschool teacher. I have a class of 24 sweet 4 and 5 year olds. We definitely have our good days and bad days. One year the children had a phrase that we would hear on a regular basis (like everyday): “You’re not invited to my birthday party.” That was the statement that would send all the girls into uncontrollable tears. We did everything we could to try and stop those words from being said. No matter what we did, those words still continued.
We decided to take a different approach. We dealt with the child whose feelings were crushed. We apologized and said we are so sorry those words were said to you. Those can be hurtful, unkind words. Then we would ask them if there was anyone they would like to go play with who was being kind. Little by little we saw improvement. Those words never did go away, but we did hear them less and less.
Through our life we will be surrounded by people who are kind and some who are not so kind. As an adult I think it is almost just as hard for us as it is for the children. Sometimes it is easy to let our feelings become hurt when we think someone has been unkind. I remember many experiences I had with someone who I guess would be an acquaintance. I would say hi to her when I would see her and I would get no acknowledgement. At first I was thinking it was just me or maybe she didn’t hear me. As time went on, it ended up happening over and over again and I realized it wasn’t just me.
For whatever reason this person does not want me to come to her “party.” Sometimes we just don’t know why. I will continue to say hi when I see her. I will still do my best to be kind. It doesn’t make it hurt less, but by continuing to be kind, I will always know I did everything I could.
I think as parents we often wonder if what we are doing is working. Are we teaching our children to be kind children and then kind adults? One day as I dropped my kids off at school, I watched my 13 year-old son start to head into the building. He stopped and I wondered if he forgot something. Then I looked to my left and there was a young man on crutches pretty far away from the door. My son, even though we were running late, had stopped to hold the door for him. My heart leapt and I was so grateful that my son was kind.
On the flip side, when someone shows us kindness, do we show kindness back? The other day I held the door open in between class periods at the high school. There must have been thirty kids who walked through that door. Out of all those kids, I only heard one thank you. I think teaching kindness is so important. It’s looking up from our cell phone or computer. It’s looking past ourselves and looking for the needs of others.
We can create and cultivate a good life for our family, ourselves, and those around us by opening our eyes and choosing to be kind and choosing to teach our children that others’ needs are just as important as their own. My mother made my life better by teaching and showing kindness. I am trying my best to teach my children the same; I am also trying my best to teach my preschool kids. Put it into action; be kind to yourself and be kind to others. Everyone should be invited to the “party.” I am truly grateful for all those who have shown me kindness. I am especially grateful to my mother. Thank you for being an example of kindness.
note from becky
I know Terri Moore to be a kind woman, indeed. She’s had her fair share of trials and difficulties and has kept her chin up all the while. We met through church many years ago and still get to see each other once in a while, usually in passing, but always with an exchange of a smile and a hug. Her daughter Makenzie, who has battled a brain tumor for a good chunk of her life, has also shared her poignant thoughts on cultivating a good life here on our blog. You can catch that post here.