Finding our way to a kinder culture―a culture that starts with our families.
In homes and school communities nationwide, there is re-energized interest in the values of community, compassion, and tolerance, and in finding our way to a kinder culture—a culture that starts with our families. Headlines speak of hate crimes, intolerance, and us-versus-them divisiveness. Recent political events have left many Americans yearning for unity, respect, and compassion in our national discourse. In our schools, bullying continues to be a pervasive problem, and in our homes, ‘screen-time’ poses a constant threat to ‘family time.’ Research shows that connection and social engagement are key to successful, fulfilling lives, and yet we have never been less connected than we are now. Perhaps more than any other group, parents recognize the potential damage of this trend.
Photos by Marcia Ciriello
We are both mental health professionals who have devoted our lives to working with families and children. We are a mom and grandma. We are an aunt and niece team. We share experiences from our work lives and values from our own family. We originally set out to write a book about raising charitable children. Along the way, we realized that being charitable (which we see as helping others) is not just about charity. We have observed that certain characteristics appear to be an integral part of exceptionally charitable people. We believe that with very few exceptions, each of us is born with these characteristics. We can learn to recognize and pay attention to how we incorporate them into our daily life and nurture them in our children. These concepts are vital to living a caring and purposeful life. We hope The Kindness Advantage will help your whole family discover ways to make a positive impact in the world.
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Just like we see in kids who have the empathy advantage, children who are raised with the kindness advantage are happier, connected, compassionate, and will have what they need to become changemakers in their world. The Kindness Advantage offers parents the tools to teach these skills and more to their young children. With the extensive examples of activities provided in the The Kindness Advantage, parents can pick and choose what resonates with them to create a personalized approach to bringing kindness into their everyday lives.
The Kindness Advantage is the perfect book. Building on scientific evidence about developing aspects of kindness, such as empathy, it gives clear, practical advice to parents and suggests engaging activities and stories for children. Nothing could be more important today than increasing compassion and decreasing polarization and acrimony. I am going to give this book to my son who has a young daughter.
Rather than abstractly teaching children to be kind, this book is a guide to help parents discover and nurture the qualities of kindness already hardwired in us at infancy. With their parent(s)' help children can discover for themselves the many expressions of kindness that can ensure their current and future well being.