Character Chats

What is Kindness?

What is kindness?

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.

And this month we are talking about kindness. And I find that kindness is a really great topic because we’ve developed this curriculum to meet our youngest students who are three and four, and our oldest student who is 85. And being kind just spans that entire age group. I mean, if you are living and breathing, you should be kind to those around you.

When we’re talking about it with our younger students, they understand the opposite of that. They understand the kid that was mean. They understand the kid that took their toy, they understand the person that they have labeled the bully. They understand all of that. It’s getting them to understand how to be kind in spite of all that. How to share, how to take turns, how to listen, how to speak in a respectful voice and advocate for what they need because all of that is part of our kindness. And then as we get into teenage years and high school years, it’s about being kind as you work through differences.

We don’t have to like everybody, we don’t have to agree with everybody, but we do have to have the ability to have a respectful discussion. We do have to have the ability to actually listen to the other side and find ways to find a compromise, common ground, that kind of thing. And how are we also kind to ourselves? Teenagers are not always kind to themselves. They stay up at all hours and they put things off that they shouldn’t and they might not be eating the healthiest. And so all those kinds of things play a role in being kind to ourselves. And then as we get into our college age and our adult age students, kindness, we know what it looks like. We just have to make sure that we’re spreading it around like glitter.

Somebody once told me that phrase, or I read it somewhere and sprinkling kindness like glitter, and all of a sudden it was like, “Yeah, that’s exactly what we need to do.” As I hold the door open for somebody as they walk by, I smile and say, “Hello.” And that’s a kind gesture. As people walk into the studio here at True Balance Karate, one of the things that we always do is say hello to everybody that walks in, that’s also a kind thing. Listening, sharing thoughts, taking care of each other. All of that is a kindness thing to do.

And I’m reminded of the time that I was in the drive-thru, and hopefully this has happened to some of you that somebody had paid for my coffee In front of me, and as I pulled up to pay, they told me it was already taken care of. So what did I choose to do? Well, I could have kept the money in my pocket, but I didn’t. Instead, I chose to pay that particular act of kindness forward and I took care of the car behind me. And so as we’re going through, we’re looking for opportunities to be kind.

We’re looking for opportunities to smile, to say, “Thank you” to take turns to show genuine respect to each other. As we go through this month, which we’re going to talk about who we need to be kind to. For our younger kids, it’s different than for older kids, and some of it is the same and some of it might be different. We’re going to be talking about how kindness makes us feel. I mean, let’s face it, when that person paid for my coffee, I was smiling. So I know I was feeling pretty happy and knowing that I then paid it for the person behind me, hoping that they would feel the same way. Also made me feel good.

And then we’re going to talk about random acts of kindness, looking out for each other. What can we do just randomly to take care of each other? So this month as we’re talking about kindness, we’re talking about showing care. We’re talking about showing concern. We’re talking about taking care of each other, putting a smile on each other’s faces, demonstrating respect. All of those kinds of things fall under this idea of showing kindness and being kind to each other. So as we go forward, you know what we’re going to be talking about.

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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