As young parents, we were often overwhelmed with the never-ending task of raising responsible (future) adults who are polite, kind, compassionate, hard working, spiritually healthy . . . the list goes on and on! So, when I discovered the concept of developing a parenting mission statement it was such a relief to focus on our identified parenting priorities and teach those values. This focus continues to help us navigate the daily routines, busyness, and hassles of a growing family.

This quote is from the Bible and a favourite of mine, “For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself.”  Galatians 5:14 (MSG) I love this single sentence because it so succinctly and beautifully captures one of our family values: kindness to others and self.

[tweetthis]“Love others as you love yourself. Galatians 5:14 (MSG)”[/tweetthis]

Kindness was the basis of an interaction with my thirteen year old daughter one day. When she arrived home from school she shared this with me. . .

“Mom, I saw Susan sitting by herself at the hockey game on our field trip today. I told my friends we should invite her to join us. They told me no and said they wouldn’t speak to me for the rest of the day if I asked her.”

Leaning forward, I said: “What did you do?”

She looked at me with compassion in her eyes and said, “I know she is going through a hard time is really lonely.” Her voice lightened, “So I went to sit with her.”

“What did your ‘friends’ do?” I asked.

“They ignored me for the rest of the day, but I don’t care, it was the right thing to do. They’ll have to get over it.” (Over time, she made different friends.)

The Kindness Report

This situation stems from a statement I started our mornings with my middle schoolers: “Be kind to someone today. Report back to me later what you did, who you chose, and why.”

Why middle school? Honestly, because I hadn’t thought of it sooner. However, middle school is a great time to teach kids to see beyond themselves. The kindness report not only strengthens their community it also displays their faith in action and builds their social reputation.

Strengthening Community

Our kids’ community is at school. The kindness report creates intentionality to recognize and interact with others’ needs. The needs are varied and vast when we look for and notice them. They’re everywhere. It could be as simple as sharing a smile or lunch. Or a greater risk like inviting ‘the new kid’ to join them. Sometimes, it may require a lot of courage like sticking up for someone who needs a friend . . . the opportunities are endless. Over time, a smile and a kind word, build into risk-taking. Reaching out to others creates a stronger community where our kids learn to give and accept help as needed; after all, everyone requires both over time. Teaching intentionality to see the needs around us not only strengthens our community; but also, the practice reaps lifelong relational rewards and character qualities.

Faith in Action

Jesus, when walking this earth, loved and cared for people right where they were at, the moment He faced them. I want our family to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Here. Now. Teaching our kids to act kindly, with compassion and empathy toward others captures Jesus’ love for real people in real situations. The here and now is our daily community.

Definitions can add a lot to our understanding and therefore our teaching.

  • Kindness: the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.
  • Compassion: concern to alleviate the sufferings of others.
  • Empathy: the ability to understand and share the perspective of another.

Reflecting on these definitions confirms the qualities I want my kids to embody so they can impart them to others. The Jesus I have come to know epitomizes these qualities.

Important to note: the verse above ends with “as yourself.” This “love your neighbour as yourself,” does not teach us to elevate others to our personal detriment. Self-care is also reflected here. We want our kids to consider others balanced with self-care, this is a healthy relational perspective .

Building a Reputation

We all develop a reputation built upon our actions. What will it be?

[tweetthis]Will people in our community know us by our love compassion kindness and empathy[/tweetthis]

Where does our reputation lead? We all have answers that vary, but it may pave the way for an invitation to youth group, a sleepover in our home (deepened interaction), or any number of ways to express Jesus’ love.


Finally, the kindness report has built-in accountability. We ask our kids to report back at the end of the day. This provides a reason to find opportunities to show kindness, compassion, and empathy with those in need. The accountability goes both ways, I find myself looking for more opportunities for my kindness report as well.

So, who can you be kind to today? Report back to someone your act of kindness.

Written by Ella Weck

Ella holds an MA in Counselling Psychology. She married Darcy in 1989, they have three children. She is currently enjoying parenting young adults. Ella loves to read, learn, roller-blade, play board games and socialize.