Kind eyes doesn’t mean you are a soft touch. Kind eyes doesn’t mean people can walk all over you. Kind eyes simply mean you care. You care about yourself and you care for those you meet. Care doesn’t mean you love or even like them. Care means you take a moment to perhaps think of the bigger picture in that you haven’t walked in their shoes and you don’t live their life. Kind eyes grasp fundamentally that everyone is unique and therefore not everyone can get on like best friends. Kind eyes understand that not every battle needs a full onslaught. Kind eyes realise that at times saying nothing or walking away is the best option. Kind eyes look out for others. Kind eyes don’t presume at the first instant the worst possible case on meeting someone that they don’t quite gel with. Kind eyes seek to understand what some else may be feeling. Kind eyes don’t agree with everything but will try an understand a different point of view.
Over the last few months I’ve had some great insights working alongside children of all ages on a project called ‘Kind Eyes’. I’ve spent many hours listening to children, teenagers, bullies and the victims of bullying trying to find set patterns of behaviour as to why bullying and not so good behaviour towards others occurs. As of yet I have nothing that is 100 per cent conclusive. There are the usual patterns of mimicking behaviour, feeling inferior, jealousy and a lot of “I don’t knows” from the children.
Like many behaviour patterns there are so many individual factors to consider. The kind eyes project is still in its infancy but so far the results have been pretty amazing. The general gist is that by talking with children about ‘kind eyes’ it makes them emotionally aware of their own feelings and creates empathy and compassion towards others. They become not only responsible for themselves but inherit a strong sense of justice towards their class as a whole. A team the looks out for each other. Kind Eyes see another human person. Kind eyes are seeing from the heart. Kind eyes don’t care what you look like, what your religion is or what team you support, kind eyes are open to connect with respect that works both ways. Kind eyes know it’s ok to be different as that’s what makes us uniquely who we are.
Building Empathy in Children
Teaching children empathy is not a one off lesson but a lesson that has to be repeated daily both at home and at school. If we want the next generation to have empathy and compassion towards others and themselves then it has to be demonstrated as much as possible. On arriving into class everyday and prior to recess and leaving for home. The children are reminded to have their kind eyes ready. By reminding a class of children to be aware of their own actions and those of others, the schools have seen a very substantial decrease in the amount of bullying going on. By making a child responsible not only for their own actions and making them take note if they see someone else in trouble and to speak up about it, we create a classroom where although as in life not everyone gets on, everyone is to an extent keeping an eye on everyone backs. Teaching children to have kind eyes takes reminding and practice every day.
Kind eyes is a compassionate way of looking at the world around you. It allows children to see how others are feeling and how their actions and words can effect those they are with. It does not mean you have to go out of your way to do a kind act everyday because when you use your kind eyes it becomes second nature to be kind. Initially you have to slow down whilst you get the hang of using kind eyes. I tell the children it’s the new super power, they rush to tell me what they have done with their kind eyes, they are happier that they are helping others they are taking the time in hectic world to make a difference , this makes me less scared of the future for my kids, I hope they raise a generation with kind eyes too.
How do you teach kindness?