Cultivate: to promote or improve the growth of [something] by labor and attention. (www.dictionary.com)
When farmers cultivate their fields, they are working their field. They are harrowing, they are tilling, they are using tools to get their fields ready to plant seeds. They are feeding the soil good nutrients to help their seeds grow, and they are getting rid of the weeds that will stop their seeds from growing. So, when we talk about “cultivating kindness”, we are talking about finding things (ideas, habits) to help us to become kinder people, and find the things, aka: weeds (bad attitudes, criticism, negativity) that don’t help us become kinder people.
Do you ever notice that weeds don’t need to be encouraged to grow? They grow without any help from people! That’s a pretty good picture of how rudeness happens. It’s easy to be cruel without even meaning to. Our tone of voice, our body language, and often the words we say are hurtful without us intending them to be. That’s why it is so, so important to try extra hard to be kind whenever we can. It will probably take practice. Just like growing a plant takes care and work, so does learning how to look for ways to be kind. It means looking away from yourself and towards other people…especially the people that don’t have a big circle of other people around them, they may need kindness the most.
As we move into a new school week, I encourage you to look for ways to grow your kindness, and I would love it if you would send me an email letting me know some of the things you do to “cultivate kindness”. (I always look forward to your messages in my inbox 🙂 ) Take care and be kind.