Character Chats

Kind Things and Feelings

Kind things and feelings.

Here at True Balance Karate in Downers Grove, Illinois, we have a social-emotional learning program called True Character. I’m Master H, the owner and chief instructor here at the studio, and I have two master’s degrees in education.

We’ve developed this curriculum to meet the needs of our youngest student who’s three or four, and our oldest student who’s 85, and this month we are talking about kindness. We started off defining kindness, taking care of those around us, showing concern, being respectful, sharing, listening, all those things that would make somebody smile. Somebody once told me, “You want to sprinkle kindness around like it’s glitter. Just spread it everywhere, all over the place, ’cause once you get a little glitter, you find it all over.”

Then last time we talked about who we were kind to, the people that we know really, really well within our families, and then the people that we know somewhat well. Teachers, colleagues, coaches, bosses, people that we talk to on a day-to-day basis. Then the people that are strangers, like the cashier at the grocery store, or somebody walking into the store behind us, and all of those people and how we need to be kind to them. Today we’re talking about ways of being kind, as well as how it makes us feel.

So as we’ve gone along, we’ve talked about sharing and taking turns, and for our younger students, when we first started, I talked about how they understood who was being mean to them, they understood who was being a bully. Although sometimes I think we use that word a lot, a lot more than we need to, but that’s the word that they understand. So they understand that negative side of it, but it’s a matter of getting them to understand what a kind thing to do would be, like your friend dropped their pencil on the ground and you picked it up and handed it back to them. They said thank you, you said you’re welcome, it was done, but it was still a kind act.

When we do that kind of thing, when we have our eyes open, when we are aware of what’s happening in the world around us and how we can help somebody, how does that wind up making us feel? Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m going to walk around with a smile on my face. I’m going to walk around feeling happy, I’m going to walk around feeling proud that I helped somebody today. I’m going to walk around thinking that I’ve done a really good job at something. So it’s teaching our kids, our younger students, that that feeling is there.

Sometimes we don’t recognize it. Really we sometimes do not recognize that warm fuzzy I did a good job feeling, because it’s just not as easy to recognize as a negative I’m so grumpy feeling. So it’s teaching them to see it, teaching them to feel it. When they are following the directions, when they have said thank you, when they’re sharing or taking turns. Didn’t you have fun playing that game? Kindness can be fun. Absolutely it can be fun, so that feeling that goes along with being kind is nothing but positive and happy and smiley and fun and uplifting.

Then as we get into high school and we get into college, we take pride in what we’ve done. We feel good about taking care of ourselves, because part of kindness is taking care of the world around us, the space, the people, but it’s also about making sure that we are getting enough sleep, that we are making sure our schoolwork is done, our classwork is done, our work is done, and taking some pride in that. So kindness can give us a sense of pride along with less stress, along with happiness, along with fun. It gives us all these great positive feelings.

Then as we get older into adulthood, being kind, it’s just a feeling that stays with you, right? When you’re kind to somebody, you’re smiling, you’re happy, and it goes to everybody else, it kind of oozes out amongst everybody else. That smile that you offer the stranger as you’re walking into the store is now given to that person, and they’re going to give it to somebody and they’re going to give it to somebody, and it literally does wind up becoming glitter sprinkled all over because of one kind thing.

So as we wrap up the month next week with random acts of kindness, it’s thinking about that feeling that we get inside, but then recognizing that by being kind to somebody, they’re going to feel that positivity, they’re going to feel that joy, that sense of caring, that somebody sees them and cares about them. We want to make sure that as much as we feel it, we pass it into the people around us as well, so that we all can have a more positive day and can share it with everybody else around us.

Next week, as we wrap up kindness, we’re going to talk about finding ways, those random acts that we can do to share more of that positive energy going forward.

Thanks, and I’ll see you on the mat!


True Balance Karate was founded in 2012 by Master Sue and Paul Helsdon.

We offer kids karate lessons for pre-school children ages 3-6 and elementary age kids ages 7 and up. These lessons are designed to develop the critical building blocks kids need — specialized for their age group — for school excellence and later success in life.

Our adult martial arts training is a complete adult fitness and conditioning program for adults who want to lose weight, get (and stay) in shape, or learn self-defense in a supportive environment.

Instructors can answer questions or be contacted 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week at 630-663-2000. You can also contact us here. True Balance Karate is at 406 Ogden Ave Downers Grove Illinois, 60515 (next to CVS)

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