Character Chats

Who Are We Kind To?

Who are we kind to?

Here at True Balance Karate in Downers Grove, Illinois, we have a social emotional learning program called True Character. I’m Master H, owner and chief instructor here at the studio. I have two master’s degrees in education and we’ve developed this curriculum to best meet the needs of our youngest students who are three or four, and our oldest student who’s 85.

And this month we are talking about kindness. Last week or last time we talked, we were defining what kindness was, showing care, showing concern, showing respect for those around us, spreading it to people around that we see with smiles and taking turns and that kind of thing.

And this week we’re talking about who are we kind to? And we have the obvious people that we’re kind to, those in our family, our moms and our dads, and our grandparents, and our aunts, and our uncles, and our siblings. Right.

Those are the people that we know that we should be kind to, that we need to make sure that we are showing care and concern. But what does that look like when we’re kind to them? What does being kind to our brothers or our sisters look like? And when we’re younger, it’s difficult because my two kids when they were younger, would argue and fight and bicker and get on each other’s nerves. And one would take one’s toy and they just never seemed to get along when they were younger. And now they’re in their teens and one’s off at college and they take care of each other. They give each other rides, they ask each other questions, they send each other text messages. Right. So it’s a different relationship now that they’re older.

And as adults, we have to model what that kindness looks like between siblings. We have to show them and at times help them navigate apologizing, sharing, taking turns so that as they get older, they continue to have these positive, good habits built into how they treat those around us. Taking care of parents, offering to carry in the groceries, giving a hug, taking care of our family in those types of ways are ways that we can show kindness to the people that we are most familiar with.

And then there’s other people that we need to make sure that we’re showing kindness to teachers, coaches, bosses, colleagues, all of those people that we know. And we need to make sure that we show kindness to them. Smile and notes, listening, offering to carry something or help out with something. In the younger grades and our younger students, it’s listening and following the directions. For our high school students, maybe they’re offering to help with a project or something like that.

Or I remember offering to help out one of the gym classes with timing when they were trying to time the mile. So I was running the stopwatches for the gym teachers. That was an act of kindness that I wound up doing back in high school. With colleagues and coworkers and bosses, it’s offering help or having a good listening ear to hear what they’re struggling with or working through or trying to figure out along the way. It just depends on what your job looks like, depends on what that kindness aspect is going to look like. And then we have the people that we don’t know so well, right? We’re in the grocery store and we’re at the checkout line and the cashier is taking care of us and we don’t know them that well, but we can still show kindness to them, smile, make some small talk, be respectful, that kind of thing.

As we’re walking into the store and somebody’s going behind us, we don’t know them at all, holding the door, saying hello, that kind of thing. As you’re walking past somebody and there’s someone in the way using words like, excuse me. Those would be kind words to use. Right. Even at the library. I remember bringing my kids to the library when they were younger, and if somebody left a book lying out on the table, the kind thing to do was either find where it goes or put it in the book return cart or give it to the librarian, taking care of the space around us as much as the people around us.

And so teaching kind skills is also teaching awareness. What’s going on around us? What could somebody use right now? Could they use a smile? Could they use an ear to listen to what’s going on? Could you pick up the book and put it where it goes? That kind of thing. So who we are kind to is just as important as how we are being that kind person. And so next week we’re going to talk about different ways to be kind, and then we’re going to talk about random acts of kindness and what that kind of looks like. So I look forward to more of our discussions.

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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