22 May The Advantages of Nurturing Kindness
Kindness is the Seven Arrows way. It is a common thread aligned with our core values of empathy, gratitude and respect. We believe in caring about others, having compassionate and empathetic hearts and being thankful and generous. A few weeks ago we were fortunate to have author and psychologist, Dale Atkins, PhD speak to our community on the importance of developing kindness in children. Developing connected children who view the world with compassionate and open minds leads to further happiness and children who are better equipped to grow socially, emotionally and cognitively. How does nurturing kindness and empathy make for happier and healthier children? And Why is teaching children kindness so important in achieving a more harmonious family life?
From Atkins’ book, The Kindness Advantage:
“Research shows that performing positive activities such as expressing gratitude and doing acts of kindness boost happiness. One Recent pioneering study with nine- to eleven- year- olds underscored the benefits to children who perform acts of kindness on a regular basis. The researchers found that these children, in addition to seeing positive changes in their academic experience, were more socially accepted. (There is a feedback loop between happiness and kindness). The practical implications of this feedback loop could be that engaging in one kind deed… would make you happier, and the happier you feel, the more likely you are to do another kind act.”
Seven Arrows values experiential education as it allows for students to address community needs and develop the understanding of giving back and leading with gratitude for our community and humanity as a whole. Engaging in beach and neighborhood clean-ups, environmental sustainability efforts, and learning the how’s and why’s of service allows students to understand their role and ability to impact their communities. According to Atkins, “there are positive results about the effects of service learning (SL) programs on young people. Students participating in SL programs demonstrate significant gains in five outcomes areas: attitudes toward self, attitude toward school and learning, civic engagements, social skills, and academic performance. Students who experience these gains understand firsthand the value of kindness and connection which enables them to be contributing members of their communities… As we model kindness for our children, and offer them their own opportunities to practice it, they will become more open to and understanding of others. With this mindset they are more likely to to be open and attract others. Compassion is a verb. Compassion and action go hand-in-hand. We look for ways to be compassionate, kind, helpful so we can change the world and make it a better place. That is the Kindness Advantage.”
Excerpted from: Atkins, Dale, and Amanda Salzhauer. The Kindness Advantage: Cultivating Compassionate and Connected Children: Everyday Ideas for Raising Kids Who Care. Health Communications, Inc., 2018.