Kindness

Last year, team Juggling Normal brainstormed having a theme word for the year. I wanted to Thrive – and I did! This year, my focus is kindness. I want to foster kindness with my kids, in my community, and with everyone I work with.

What do you think of when I say the word, kindness?

I love the story The Kissing Hand – we all need more kindness and love in our lives!

We have all had a roller coaster of life over the last couple years, and all of the usual things that we have to deal with have been made even harder in the stress of the pandemic and all that came with it.

Last week, I watched The Book of Manning with my kids. It’s a great docu-story and I’d highly recommend it – especially if your kids are like mine and love Peyton and/or Eli Manning. But the biggest win from the story? The whole family cares about being good people. They value kindness, doing the right thing and teaching kids to make their own decisions.

It reminds me that there are some fantastic role models around us, and there are some very special superstars who are also really good humans. Those are the people we want our kids to look up to and follow.

We also had the good fortune to take our older kids to a special football game last weekend. Our cousin plays defense for the Cincinatti Bengals, and we were able to take the kids to watch the AFC Championship Game on Sunday. The night before, we spent some time hanging out with family and friends, and catching up a bit with our cousin Logan…who also is such a good role model and a good human. His life tips for my son included working hard and staying humble.

Our son and his cousin, Logan.

Friends, I am often reminded of the Teachable Moments in life. I’ve said before that we can learn just as much from our kids as they learn from us. Even more than that, if we get out and do things together, explore the world and take our kids on new adventures, we can both learn new things together.

Football will be the number one topic in our house for the next couple weeks, as we gear up for our cousin playing in the big game. So, I’m sticking with football examples to back up my theme word for the year.

Tom Brady has also been in the news a lot this week, and whether you like him or not, he has been one of the greatest athletes in modern times. He is also a class act, and a good human. He cares about his family, and seems to be making the career move that is best for his life at this time.

I talk a lot about work/life balance, and making sure that you make the right choices for you and your family. None of us can make those choices for anyone else, because our daily realities and priorities might be different.

The one thing that I know I’ll be using to drive everything else this year? Kindness. I said in our Group Q&A post last month that I want to focus on kindness with my kids, my co-workers and everyone around me. And as it applies to any new year’s resolution, I have already had some imperfect moments in the first month of the year.

Be the kindness model for your kids!

We all know, None of us are Perfect. Now more than ever, after the last two years, this is as true today as when I first wrote those words.

I am certainly a constant work in progress. Last year, I wanted to move past being a Stay at Home mom, and get back into some adult goals and achievements. I managed to ramp up my consulting business again, and found a perfect fit in a new position with a well-established company that I love. I get to have the best of all worlds, retaining some autonomy and flexibility while also leading a team of great people and having a full staff to lean on when I need help. Overall, I think my goal last year to Thrive worked out pretty well.

Now, I am focused on building out from the foundation that started last year, and keeping kindness at the forefront of all of my interactions. Sometimes, it is so hard to Be Kind, and model that behavior for our kids. By making that my word of the year, I’m hoping it will get easier as I go. The more we focus on something and keep it in our minds, the more habit-forming it becomes. Isn’t that what we teach our kids as they learn and grow?

Kids don’t have a monopoly on learning new things. I am also starting something new (for me) next week: I agreed to take tae kwon do classes with my kids, as an incentive to keep them going in their classes. The kids want to boss mom around, and I’m ok with that. I need a reason to get out and do something, self defense skills are always good to have, and my kids are excited for me to do it with them.

Is there something new you want to try? A class you want to take or a new skill you want to learn? Go ahead and try it! You may or may not like it in the end, but in the grand scheme of things, I’m all in on trying something new.

Is there a big adventure you want to take with your spouse or your whole family? Give yourself permission to do the things this year! Take advantage of opportunities to get out and go if they come your way. Our football adventure last weekend was kind of a spur of the moment trip – and our kids had the best time. Sometimes, last minute adventures are better than if you plan for months. And the football adventures have given us opportunities to point out the good role models our kids are surrounded with.

Here’s to a new year full of kindness, learning, and trying new things!

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