Monday, January 16, 2017

Kindness on Sesame Street

The idea for this month's post was inspired by my toddler. Yes, my 2 year old told me what to write about. Over breakfast the other day, I asked my son what Mama should write about for her monthly newsletter. His response of "How 'bout Count and Big Bird?"  inspired me 

My son is a big Sesame Street fan, which means I have read, watched, and listened to a lot of Sesame Street over the past few months. As a child, I loved the show. As an adult and psychologist, I have a renewed appreciation of the program and the lessons it teaches. The current season premiered recently and the theme is kindness, a simple fact that I was reminded of with my son's suggestion. 

Kindness- what a wonderful concept to focus on this month. Kindness is often confused with being nice, but there are differences. Telling someone they look great before a job interview when they obviously have food stuck in their teeth may be nice but not very kind.  The dictionary distinguishes between the helpful nature of being kind and the pleasant nature of being nice.  

There are lots of ways to be kind. If you want to get some ideas, take a look at the first episode of Sesame Street this season. You will see people and monsters being considerate, helpful, and loving to one another. All ways of being kind. 

Kindness is good for you, others, and the world. It can even boost happiness. If you are interested in learning more about the research on kindness, take a look at this Greater Good article.

Here are some ideas to generate kindness:  
Pay it forward- pay for the order of the car behind you in the drive-thru 
Take a friend out for coffee 
Help someone carry a bag at the grocery store 
Offer to help a family member clean up decorations 
Give a loved one a hug 
Provide free babysitting for a parent in need 
Telling someone the truth in a gentle manner 

How can you show kindness?

Dr. Laura