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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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.
With optimism and compassion, The Kindness Advantage offers practical tips and real-world examples parents and educators need to teach empathy, compassion, and kindness to our children. Along the way, it also provides opportunities to reflect on our values and experiences as adults. This book speaks to the innate desire of every child to be good to themselves and those around them. Dale Atkins and Amanda Salzhauer make the case for kindness as the tool to radically transform our children’s lives, and our own.
Before we expect kindness from others, we have to nurture it in ourselves. Thanks to The Kindness Advantage we now have the recipe to raise children that better the world not because of what they have done, but because of who they are. And, in the process, we can learn to become kinder people in an often divisive and complicated world.