“Random Acts of Kindness…Caught Being Good?”

When did acts of kindness become “random,” and “caught being good” become a focus for being rewarded?

It appears both “kindness” and “goodness” have become something of random proportion, as opposed to being part of everyday life.  So much so, that when they occur…children, especially…are to be rewarded.  If we reward children for being kind and good, how does the natural flow of both, become a part of their nature?  Is the goal…to be rewarded?  Or to genuinely feel good inside - by helping someone – out of the kindness of your heart?  To share goodness, with no expectations of “reward.”  When did these become all but obsolete?  What happened to a sense of accomplishment in a job well done?  When feeling good about oneself, was reward enough?

Expectations can ruin a relationship.

The focus of concern used to be, “caught being bad” and “random acts of violence.”  Making a “bad” choice meant facing the natural consequence that followed.  (A consequence was of no surprise, either).  It seems we have crossed the line, dropping accountability a few levels, along with respect.  The natural consequence to this, is the rise in “bullying.”  Authority does not mean what it used to.  The more we “reward” our children for what would hopefully come naturally, the greater their expectations grow…along with a sense of “entitlement.”  Rewards of this nature, do not nurture a sense of responsibility.

Children learn by example, more so than by words.  What children observe, good or bad, is their “teacher.”

I have been to many town meetings in my community over the years.  There was a time when parents, board members, officials, etc. could voice their opinion to a respectful crowd.  Not to say all was agreed upon, but there was the appropriate time to listen…and, to be heard.  Respect was a given.  Over the years, especially  the last ten, the level of respect at said meetings has changed drastically.  Enter the presence of bullying.  Is there a connection here?  My answer would be an emphatic “yes.”

The lack of respect shown for those in authority falls nothing short of atrocious.  Sad, indeed.  A number of children have been present at these meetings.  What they are subjected to, is bullying…plain and simple.  We are within the school building, where there is zero tolerance for bullying, yet…it is alive and well at these meetings.  I understand parents want what is best for their children, as I do for mine.  Have we gotten that far away from respect?  Emotions can run high, and understandably so…but not a platform to speak from.  “No respect, Know bullying…Know respect, no bullying.  Simple.”

Adults are portrayed in many movies and TV Shows as being “stupid,” while children appear to have the upper hand.  All in the light of humor.  Movies portray “in-your-face” violence, to the point where children seem to become “immune” to it.  There are no consequences in the movies/TV, or so it appears.  Are we to believe that all of this does not affect our children?

Families are very busy these days, and time together is becoming less and less.  Have we lost our focus?  Intentionally?  No.  Are we protecting our children by not wanting to hurt their feelings; not showing them that bad choices bring about natural consequences; while rewarding them for kindnesses and good deeds…to make them feel good about themselves?  Is it working?

“Caught being good?”  “Random acts of kindness?”  Is that what we want them to strive for? “Caught” and “random.”  Do they present a positive image?  Children learn soon enough that not everything has it’s “rewards.”  There comes a point when reality takes hold.  What is honestly earned, carries a greater strength-builder than hollow rewards.  Children need to be able to draw from within themselves to feel good about themselves.  To make healthy decisions.  Build character.  Kindness is a way of life….as is goodness.  Treating others, as you hope to be treated.

Children will repeat a behavior until they get what they need.  Children need discipline to feel secure.  They need to know there are boundaries, to keep them safe.  Kindness promotes kindness, goodness promotes goodness, and…violence promotes violence.  A child knows when they have done a good job.  Rewards not earned…what do they hold?  A sense of entitlement, not trust building.

So, the next time your child brings home a reward for “Caught Being Good” or a “Random Act of Kindness,” you may want to rethink the value of same.  You are your child’s first teacher…and set the example for choices to be made, down the road.  Parenting is the toughest job in the world, as my mother used to say…but the  most rewarding.  What you invest in their well-being now, will set the foundation for the greatest rewards down the road…in the truest sense, for you and your child.  Hugs, encouragement, and reassurance go a long way…as does respect.

Wishing you much goodness and kindness.

2 Responses for " “Random Acts of Kindness…Caught Being Good?” "

  1. sholko sholko February 23rd, 2016 at 3:36 am 1

    Ron, Thank you for your gracious and thoughtful reply. I appreciate your words of encouragement and kindness. Please forgive the delay in my response. Time marches on, and waits for no one. Nice to be back on the journey! In Gratitude, Suzanne

  2. Ron Shaw Ron Shaw December 31st, 2015 at 5:13 am 2

    Suzanne, truth flows through this piece like the Nile through Egypt. What has become of civility, mutual respect, and common decency?
    This reminds me of the biblical message “sins of the father.” As parents, it is our responsibility to instill the virtues you write about within our children. All too often we relegate these tough duties to others like teachers, ministers, peers, and influencers within the sundry forms of entertainment and advertising.
    If we have done our jobs properly as parents, then, being good will be the norm and acts of kindness will never be random.
    Excellent piece, Suzanne.

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