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Kindness is Contagious

Monday mornings are tough. I am sure it isn’t just our family. It is a challenging transition to come off a two day period where you have flexibility, time, and lots of play. Weekends are glorious times with family and friends at our house. We often go to bed exhausted on Sunday nights, which is part of why Monday mornings are so challenging. I wrangle my children out of bed; they are slow to wake and resistant to the idea of getting up to go to school. I find myself trying to stay positive, but I nag them as I bark orders over and over. My anxiety about being late to work rises with every passing moment, and I busy myself to avoid yelling and jeopardizing positive progress to leaving the house. However, inevitably, one of my children will yell at me or each other, and someone will cry. Monday’s are fun!

This past Monday was different. It started as a typical Monday with me rising early to get ready before I woke my children. Both of my kids made their way to my bed the previous night. My youngest does this regularly. She wakes up in the middle of the night and is scared to stay in her bed, so she nestles herself under a blanket in my bed nightly. My oldest only comes into my bed when she’s had a scary dream, which was the case the night before. I climbed into my bed and gave them hugs and kisses as they stirred ever so much. We chatted for a minute about clothes they wanted to wear and what they wanted for breakfast, and this is where the morning began to take a turn.

My oldest invited my youngest to get dressed in her room, and my sweet little girl was so excited to be asked that she leaped out of bed. They gathered their clothes, started to get dressed, and from the kitchen, I could hear them talking and laughing. Their enjoyment continued as they made their way downstairs. My oldest then asked if she could brush my youngest’s hair and teeth for her. To my delight, this offer was accepted with more happiness and giggles as they made their way to the bathroom. These interactions brought such joy to my heart and a smile to my face. There was such a lightness about the morning, and I could feel the genuine love the two of them have for one another. It was delightful to watch. 

We walked the dog and got out the door in record time. I dropped my daughters off at school and headed to work. I couldn’t stop smiling and thinking about this incredible morning. What was it that made the difference? How could it be replicate day after day? I concluded there is no magic formula to create mornings like this, but there are components that lend themselves to these types of experiences. When people feel good about themselves and feel loved, they exude love. On this particular morning, neither of my daughters felt in competition for my love. Neither one was jockeying for attention or additional reassurance that I loved them. I believe this equity allowed my oldest to be vulnerable and offer things to my youngest that she doesn’t normally do. She is often scared to be vulnerable with her sister because it often rejected, and that hurts her heart terribly. She wants nothing more in this world than to be loved and needed by her sister. My youngest, in turn, was able to accept those offerings in a way she doesn’t usually do. She desperately wants to be older, independent and often rejects help because it makes her feel a little like a baby. On this morning, however, these gestures were accepted, and I believe she felt loved and cared for by her sister. 

There are so many factors involved in replicating this type of morning. I would love to create a formula so that this could become the norm, but that would be impossible. As I reflect on the morning, what I do know is that their giving and receiving of love shaped the morning. Their choices and the kindness they showed one another impacted the environment and everyone who was involved. Their attitudes, love, and compassion were contagious. 

Message to my Daughters: You have the power to shape the world around you. Your choices about your attitude, your energy, and the way you treat those around you can build people up or tear them down. Life will provide you with difficult situations and people, but choose respect, kindness, and lead with love. Use this power that you have to be the light, to engage in patient interactions, and to show the world your devotion. You are incredible young humans and have an immense influence on the world around you. Go forth and positively shape your world inside and out.

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