With schools shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic and parents having to take the reigns on teaching their children, they need to also keep in mind the importance of teaching beyond the basic syllabus. As the world is not only experiencing a full-blown pandemic, it is also currently undergoing a major racial divide. Black Lives Matter and being kind to one another during this crucial and sensitive time is of the utmost importance. If parents teach their children the following three messages of how to be kind, there is hope for the future of our society to continue to progress, learn, and heal.

Treat people how you want to be treated.

Simple enough right? This age-old adage is the first step in explaining to children the importance of being kind to others. A good time to bring this up to a child is when parents might witness them bullying another child or doing something as simple as taking a toy away from someone else. The parent needs to sit their child down and ask them if they were in the opposite position, where the other child stole the toy away from them or was mean to them, how would they feel? Most likely the answer would be “sad or bad.” Next, the parent should then ask the child, if the other child gave you the toy and was nice to you, how would you feel? The answer would likely be “happy or good.” This is probably the simplest way to explain what kindness means to a child.

Parents can also use examples from their own experiences of how they were taught the meaning of kindness and provide examples of when others were kind to them. Through the parents’ own experiences, children can see the proof of how being kind pays off and can be rewarding to everyone involved. Additionally, parents should give examples of a time they may not have been so nice to someone else and how they regretted their behavior and learned to do better from it after they saw how sad it made the other person feel. Ultimately, teaching kindness starts at home with the parents showing kindness, love, and compassion to their own children – so parents, please lead by example.

Always be kind and love one another.

Suppose your child is the sweetest of the sweet, and you need to protect them from other children bullying them and not showing kindness toward them. It is necessary for parents to also teach their children the importance of others being kind to them in return. If you feel stuck and unsure of how to demonstrate this to your child, try reading them a children’s book that promotes kindness and anti-bullying so they can learn from the examples in the stories and find the courage to stand up for themselves. My children’s book, “Lilbeebye Stings Bully,” features a strong Black girl superhero named Super Honey Girl who stings honey love into the hearts of those who bullied and picked on other children too afraid to defend themselves. Through the use of a normal girl, Lilbeebye, turning into Super Honey Girl, children will feel empowered to be brave and defend themselves as well as others through love and kindness.

Of course, it is also imperative to teach children to be safe when dealing with a bully as you do not want to put them in a compromising position when being picked on and trying to defend themselves. They should be taught to know right from wrong and seek help from adults whenever possible. Children should also know that home is a safe place and should feel comfortable to tell their parents when they are being bullied so the parent can help protect and defend their child by stepping in and addressing the situation where needed.

If we care for one another, we can make the world a better place.

Bullying is a big problem in the world and is more apparent now than ever during the current racial divide. Black lives have always mattered, and it is inspiring to see the world finally come together to support the movement. Police brutality and the hatred toward people of color needs to finally come to an end, as this is the ultimate form of bullying. Perhaps if these people were instilled with the importance of kindness at a young age, George Floyd could still be alive, and we would not have to go through a global movement for change. The change would have already been in place, starting with childhood.

I beg of all parents, please teach your child to be kind as the world and the future depends on it. Show your children the peaceful protestors demanding change and fighting for Black lives. Teach them about the injustices Black people have been facing for centuries. Whether your child is Black, white, or any other race, they can learn from our history and improve on it to do better for themselves and the world as a whole. We are all in this together, and only together can we make the change the world needs to find peace, love, and kindness.

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