Kindness. Is it really that natural? Is kindness something built within our DNA? Or, is the nature and nurture conversation one that needs to be included when discussing kindness.
Why are some people seemingly kind through and through and why are others seemingly unkind? As I walk through life I find myself observing human behaviour from the youngest (my newborn grandbabies of which another one is on the way), through to our beautiful young ones at Little Miracles to the more seasoned ones who are the same age as Rob and I. From what I can see, kindness doesn’t seem to be something that (always) comes naturally. But, from what I can see, nature and nurture work hand-in-hand on this one.
From what I can understand, much of this comes down to Oxytocin which many of us may understand from childbirth, milk production and ‘love’. Oxytocin creates intimacy, trust and is released by men and women during times of connectivity (sexually) and during childbirth. It has been referred to as the ‘cuddle hormone’. Oxytocin has an incredible effect on all of us and it’s evident when it comes to kindness.
How does this work and relate to kindness?
Nature: Everyone of us has a certain amount of Oxytocin in our system and there is a scientific explanation to how it all works. I’m not going to dare to try and explain that to you because I’m not a scientist. What I can tell you is that both male and female have Oxytocin and somehow it mixes together and throughout our system and it impacts our areas predisposed to empathy. Disclaimer: I am NOT a scientist or geneticist so my assessment of this is through the lens of my own understanding. And, what I’ve come to understand is that environment plays a big role in how genes are expressed or not.
Nurture: Two-ways Oxytocin is released is through affection and physical touch. This means that when a parent shows affection, soothing or gentleness towards their children, something is exchanged. Empathy is triggered and this is where the magic happens. Kids feed off their parents and visa versa. The beauty of the way God created all of us.
Back to my initial question. Why should we teach our kids kindness? Are we really teaching them or are we showing them through our actions, words and thoughts towards them? Indeed, we MUST show and live this in our homes so our children can be who they are meant to be, which are kind, compassionate people who will indeed make the world a better place.
When is a better place to show this than at Christmas? Show kindness to those around you, whether it be the person on the street collecting money for the Salvation Army, or the request at Coles, Woolies or your local shopping centre for non-perishable items. There are opportunities to show kindness and share oxytocin with those in our midst.
Merry Christmas and may kindness be your guiding light.