Friday, March 31, 2017

"Be Kind to One Another"

Kindness has become somewhat of a forgotten word in today's society.  It's one of those words you can go through a whole day, a whole week even, and never hear the word said aloud.  However, it silently exists in many people on any given day.  It's spoken through a smile or a handshake.  It's seen through a person opening the door for you or even in a wave as you pass a fellow neighbor in their car.  It's there, it's just - often times- silent.  

At our meeting we discussed how important this word really is.  That kindness is to be given and given loudly, greatly, intentionally.  It's to be given to others and also to ourselves.  

As Moms, we are almost conditioned to put ourselves last.  To show kindness to everyone else and often there's just not time left in the day or energy left in our bodies to show kindness to ourselves.   But it's so important!  We Moms have to fill up our own buckets with kindness so we have some to pour out to our families.  If we aren't filled with kindness, then what are we filled with?  What are we pouring out onto our families?

We also talked about how important it is to give kindness to others.  MOPS exists for this reason.  It's so important, especially in today's society of  "bullying" and women shaming women, for Moms to ban together, to build each other up and show empathetic kindness!  We all know what it's like to be a Mom.  Having little ones pulling on your clothes, running away from you in the parking lot and throwing perfectly good food across your kitchen floor (AHH!)!  We know about sleepless nights, toddler tantrums and how yoga pants or leggings are God's greatest gift to postpartum bodies!  We've all been there right?  We're all in this beautiful mess together, why not help each other out and extend a little kindness?  

Finally, we talked about how difficult it is to receive kindness from others.  As Moms, we're just flat out bad at this.   Mostly because it can make us feel vulnerable and even embarrassed to be singled out.  Or maybe we're just so used to giving kindness to others, that it's almost a culture shock when someone shows it to us.  We're quick to say, "Oh, that's OK" or "No, I got this" when someone offers us help.  Even something as simple as receiving a compliment can be tough.  We excuse it away or if we do actually respond with a "thank you", we don't fully believe and accept what the person just said to us.  But this year we are changing all of that.

And that's just what we did.  

During a couple exercises, probably my most favorite ones yet, we practiced how to be kind as well as how to receive kindness from others.  In the first exercise we divided our Moms into two groups, the "huggersand the "huggees(insert diaper joke here).  The huggers had to give the other group (the huggees) a big, silent hug.  The catch?  The huggees had to close their eyes and could not hug back or say a word, they just had to receive.  We then switched roles.  Talking after wards it was a clear representation of how difficult it is to accept some one's kindness but also, how very good it feels!

For the other exercise we sat in a circle and one by one, we showed kindness to another Mom by giving a compliment to her.  It could be anything from what she was wearing to something in her personality that shined.  It was incredible!  What was meant to be a quick game turned into a 30-45 minute session of bucket filling.  Each Mom gave and received kindness and it was glorious!  I think we all really needed it and it certainly brought us closer together, instantly.  A true testament of how powerful our words and actions can be and how kindness is SO needed.  

So we're hoping that this year you'll show kindness a little more boldly and loudly.  To your children and your families, of course, but also to yourself and to the people around you in the little and big ways that God shows you. 

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."            

Colossians 3:12

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