Monday, September 3, 2012

Being Kind

 It's been circling my brain for days. It's been poking at me to write something...anything. I just need to get it off my chest so here it goes.

Let's say your best friend was upset, or your spouse, really upset. Crying. Scared. Needed you for comfort or solace.

Well, I am willing to bet you would be there. You would offer a hug or a shoulder or an ear.
This is what we do, right? As mothers, as friends, as human beings we help those we love. We even help those we do not know or love. We are charitable, we are giving, we are compassionate.

This quote is one I always think of when I think of our actions in everyday life.

"Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible."  - Dalai Lama

Now here is where my head spins. This is what stabs me in the stomach and makes my heart sink.

I read a story last week about a little girl starting kindergarten. In fact I read a few stories about the scary first day, the crying at drop off (by both parent and child), the sad faces at recess and the crying during class.
I think it's common because well meaning commenters respond by offering encouragement and their own stories of the first dreadful week of school. They urged the parents to press on because this is normal and part of growing up.
They assure that the five year old needs to cry and face her fears because life is hard and there is no need to shelter or coddle the child. Did you read that? We are talking about a five year old!

In the attempt to not tick anyone off I have tried to put myself in their shoes. I know that not every family can home school or would even want to home school. I also realize that a parent might not be able to drop everything to run to a school and comfort their child. I know this. I accept this.

What I do not accept is the belief that a child must be hardened or that a child must learn at this early an age that life is tough and to deal with it all. I reject this notion that it's okay to comfort a close friend but not our own children when the going gets tough.

A best friend called me last week venting about her toddler who has decided to wake up screaming during the night. She's tried most everything you can imagine to get her baby back to sleep to no avail. She even tried letting her cry it out but after  a considerably long time she could no longer stand to hear her child suffer. You see my friend has a mama' heart. She has a strong mothering instinct that her child is needing her. She was advised by many well meaning friends that her child, her baby, is manipulating her and the answer is to just let her scream until she stops. It came to no surprise to either of us that her baby calms down once she is in her arms.

Would we treat our adult friends and family this way? Ignore their needs and force them to comfort themselves?

Again, I reject this idea that a baby must learn to sooth itself. What the heck are we mothers for? I don't recall ever seeing an official job description but I am positive that we are here to comfort our children.

We are to some extent a society that hardens the child and coddles the adult. I think it could explain some of our societal problems, but that's just my opinion. I have no degree in parenting or sociology or even psychology.

What I do have are 7 attachment parent raised kids who are stable, social, confident, smart and above all else......kind.

Here's to a new school year at home and an always available hug!


  1. Weaning an infant before the baby is ready to wean is another one that hurts me. I was warned to alternate bottle feeding my first one so they could be left with another caregiver while I went to walmart or other errand, or for the baby's best interest if I got ill or worse. Everyone was miserable when I practiced those situations. I decided after 1 or 2 attempts, that I would not borrow trouble and would nurse until weaning was decided by the baby. I was lucky with weaning, I guess, because I don't even know exactly when any of them completely stopped nursing. It was gradual and smooth. As for school drop-offs...I have had the experience of leaving all 4 at pre-K and 3 so far at kindergarten. Occasionally, I would have one who did not want to stay so I would have to hang around for awhile till they ignored me. Most of the time another upset child would trigger the choir of upset children. We were always allowed to stay in the room until things were ok. I think the situation from the story you posted is extreme and the parents should have been contacted. Fear and abandonment needs to be handled by a parent, whenever possible. I had a great stay at home mom babysitter for my kids. The transition from a different home setting to a classroom with great PreK teacher/moms was a great help for mine. Now they cry when I come to pick them up from a friend's house or other activity.

  2. LOVE this post, Sam! Posting it to my FB page!

  3. We are all loking forward to resuming our home school in a couple of days and yes it is fantastic to know that my children will be able to have their emotional well being cared for rather than learning to supress their emotions at regular school.

    1. Excuse my typos, I'm tired, I've just had a baby!

  4. Here, here! I love that being together as a family, we are able to support each other. I love being there for them. I love being able to take them time to slow down and just attend to what ever they are working on. Be it a struggle with potty training, or coming to understand that some of the harder facts of life, like war. And as they grow and return the encouragement, and cuddles it is like a snowball. It just grows. I know it is a bit taboo to say my children nurture my emotional well being, but every time they smile, or hug me, gosh doesn't it make me feel like standing up and taking on the world. I like to credit them with that.

  5. I've only just found your blog in the last few days...and I'm loving so much of it! We have a smaller family, just three, but we homeschool. We live on a suburban 1/4 acre block, but we grow so much of what we eat and we have egg chickens. One day maybe the day! But meanwhile I'm reading the wisdoms of a Muma who appreciates kindness, who appreciates keeping their kids lives simple, low activities, minimal friends, fresh air and activity outside! I'm nodding and smiling. This post, the Dali Lama quote, has been buzzing around my head lately a lot. This post today that I'm reading as I continue to read from the start of your blog to the end has made my day!

    Thankyou! :D


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