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It's not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It's our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless. --L.R. Knost

Kindful Kids: Top 10 of 2016

--by Kindful Kids Editors, syndicated from servicespace.org, Jan 10, 2017
The beginning of another new year is the perfect time to reflect, as a family, on memorable moments of togetherness and inspiration from the year gone by and to express gratitude for all that it offered. It is also an opportunity to plant seeds for the intentions you want to cultivate at both a personal level with your families and, more broadly, to plant seeds of goodness for the change you wish to see in the world in 2017. Our team of volunteer editors hopes you enjoy our personal selection of the Top 10 Kindful Kids of 2016 here below! We are grateful to this entire community for nourishing children's journeys in the beautiful ways that you do and we look forward to seeing all of the inspiration that blossoms in the coming year. Sending you warm wishes for a Happy New Year! 

A Family Gratitude Practice: "In The Science of Gratitude, we report on studies suggesting how being grateful is good for your health, how it can strengthen your romantic relationships, why it's important to the workplace, and much more. I approached all of this research as a somewhat skeptical journalist. But I also examined it as the mother of a toddler. By the time we completed the project, the reporter in me came away with a newfound intellectual appreciation for gratitude; the parent in me came away with a new mission for my son. I got the gratitude bug." 

A 15-year-old's Song of Love and Peace to the World: Inspirational music from the next generation has arrived. Fifteen-year-old Shivani is a wise soul that represents the spirit and youth of our time. Her music and message gives us all hope that future generations are in good hands. Sit together with your family to listen and sing along with Shivani's latest song called "Spreading Love" (lyrics are at the bottom of the page). This video features a surprise guest artist and dear friend of the Kindful Kids Community, Nimo Patel of Empty Hands Music, who recorded and gifted Shivani the rap piece featured in her song! 

Accepting Children for Who They Are:"What if we looked at things from our children's point of view? How would it feel to be in a relationship with someone who was always trying to change you? What if we just accepted our children for who they are? Children are all unique and brilliant in their own ways. Let's stop trying to make them all the same. [...] What a gift for a child to feel like they are perfect as they are. To feel that they don't need to 'perform' or be constantly trying to do better. How empowering not to be boxed in by labels, be compared to others, or have to live up to someone else's standards."

The Ecology of Hope: Reconnecting Children and Nature: "For many reasons, beginning with the enormity of the challenges we face - from the malaise of the culture of depression to the ravages of lost biodiversity and global climate change, to the fragmentation of families, to the disillusion of many youth - we, who can, need to demonstrate the positive power of the Ecology of Hope. We can exercise the will, make conscious choices, and cultivate a sense of efficacy in ourselves and others. We can make life better for children, and ourselves, by opening the door to the first classroom - the natural world, from backyards to neighborhoods to parks and public places." 

Siblings: How to Help them be Friends Forever: "I know that most siblings fight, and that social scientists have consistently recorded high levels of hostility in sibling relationships relative to other relationships. But this is not okay with me; I want my kids to be kind to each other. My dad and his brother are lifelong best friends and business partners. My brother and I are close friends. I want this for my kids, too. But how? Fortunately, we parents of multiple children have some good science to guide us.”

Does Forgiveness Make Kids Happier?: "If you're a parent or an educator, insisting that children apologize is a daily-sometimes hourly-occurrence. [...] We even coach children to really "say it like you mean it" and to "think about" what they've done when they've harmed someone. However, we may be forgetting a crucial step in the process of atonement: forgiveness. New research suggests that we should consider focusing not just on the offender but also on the injured child's response to a wrongdoing.”

Tools for a More Grateful, Peaceful and Connected Family Life:"Achieving mindfulness amid a busy family life can seem nearly impossible. Too often, we race around completely mindless of the current moment, focused instead on the tasks and responsibilities that lay ahead. Present moment living deserves a place near the top of our personal priorities. Research continues to demonstrate how mindfulness bolsters memory, lowers stress, improves resilience, and increases happiness."

Teaching Children About Diversity: Children seek a sense of belonging and acceptance from peers, and these friendships are a vital part of their development. Learning to develop diverse friendships is important for later in life, as these connections provide the roadmap for future relationships, teaching children to resolve conflict and get along with others. When children move beyond simply noticing the similarities and differences they share with others, they learn how such characteristics - and people's attitudes about them - have the power to make them and others feel included or excluded. 

Creative Acts of Kindness for Grandparents and Their Grandchildren: “Grandparents want so much for their grandchildren. They hope for a bright and happy future for them, of course. They also want their grandchildren to have a sense of family history, tradition, and heritage. Spending big-hearted time together can accomplish all of those goals."

Is Social Media Making Our Kids Less Empathetic?: In her latest book, Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, Sherry Turkle argues that texts, tweets, Facebook posts, emails, instant messages, and snapchats-simultaneous, rapid-fire "sips" of online communication-have replaced face-to-face conversation, and that people are noticing the consequences. Over-reliance on devices, she argues, is harming our ability to have valuable face-to-face conversations, "the most human thing we do," by splitting our attention and diminishing our capacity for empathy."      

Syndicated from Kindful Kids, a weekly newsletter that was launched by ServiceSpace in 2011 as a resource for parents who are keen to impart values of compassion and service to their children. You can subscribe to it here.    


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