Kindness Matters!


Hi everyone! It’s been a while since you’ve heard from me (Cheryl), since we’ve had so many wonderful guest bloggers! We have a lot of new subscribers, so welcome to our parent blog and happy reading!

TEEN LINE is celebrating the 35th anniversary of our first call. Truly amazing! So how have we lasted 35 years? Incredible supporters, marvelous leadership, passionate adult and teen volunteers, and fabulous training. But something that transcends all of that is a word that is getting a lot of buzz lately: KINDNESS!

TEEN LINE has lasted all these years because our teens are KIND. They genuinely care about their callers, and volunteer their free time to help others in need. Every caller is equal and treated with respect. On a broader note, this week Target debuted an anti-bullying line of clothing by Generation Kind. Our TEEN LINE phone number is in the tag, encouraging teens to reach out to us if they are struggling. How awesome is that? Our number in a line of clothing that promotes what we have stood for over so many years!

The Making Caring Common project of Harvard Graduate School of Education recently released a report, Turning the Tide: Inspiring Concern for Others and the Common Good Through College Admissions. This report addresses many of the issues facing college applicants these days, including our societal emphasis on high achievement rather than good citizenship. Another Harvard study says 80% of teens say their parents value their academic achievement or happiness over kindness. This is obviously an issue that demands further attention.

My observation is that happiness is generally not so much about our achievements, but about our connections to others. Research supports connection as a buffer to physical and mental health issues. Loneliness kills.

How do we connect? We connect when we are kind. When we take the time to get to know others, appreciate their struggles, remain nonjudgmental, and help those who may need it.

This relates to parents as well.  Parents still have influence over their teens, even when it seems like they don’t. So, model kindness in your actions and words. As we all know, words can hurt; sometimes even more than deeds. Instead of praising kids for being “smart,” praise your kids for being “kind.”  Practice, teach, and reward empathy. And, always remember, as Henry James said more than 100 years ago, “Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.”

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