This article was originally published on Her View From Home.
I unintentionally started an argument on Facebook recently. I didn't mean for things to get so out of control. I was only sticking up for my husband. Several comments later my faith and my motherhood were questioned by friends and people that I don't even know.
It started at 3:00 a.m. with the sound of sirens and speeding automobiles. They didn't wake me, but my husband went to Facebook to question what happened. An innocent question, you would think. But the answer he received was completely insulting and totally unnecessary. Have courage and be kind are the words that I kept repeating to myself. After being called selfish and egotistical and being told to get over myself, I cannot tell you how hard it was for me to be kind. I did it, though. In my eyes at least.
After the shock wore off, those harsh words from a friend and women whom I have never met made me question everything I had ever learned about being kind. Would it have been better if I acted like them and attacked their every word? Should I have given them a hard time too? That would have been easier, I think, but I chose to let kindness prevail.
Later, I began to think about how I would have wanted my children to handle themselves if they were ever in a similar situation. I want them to always be polite, considerate, and find goodness in everyone even when disrespect and hatred seem to be winning.
I cannot explain how important it is to me to be kind to everyone in this often unkind world.
We live in an age where the internet can amass almost instant and often anonymous comments from both acquaintances and complete strangers. When the reactions are rude and vicious, as in my case, I'm finding it more important than ever to teach my children to be nice to others.
Treat others the way you want to be treated.
I am teaching them to put themselves in someone else's shoes. They are learning to think before saying something about someone. I want them to realize how someone may feel if someone said it to them. Empathy plays an important role in kindness.
If you can't say something nice then don't say anything at all.
As the saying implies, it is important to keep quiet if nothing good can come from what is being said. I'm teaching my children to keep things positive and to hold back negative comments when words may hurt.
Say please and thank you.
Teaching my children good manners is of the utmost importance to me. It is my hope that in teaching them to be polite as children they will grow into appreciative and well-respected adults.
Try not to spoil.
As difficult as it may be it times, teaching my children that they cannot have everything they want is necessary. Helping them understand why they can't have everything not only makes for kind children, but patient and thankful children as well.
Always be kind.
Kindness is contagious. It makes people feel good. I am teaching my children that kind words and smiles go a long way. I am learning as well when disciplining, that kindness and support work much better than bitterness and frustration.
How did the Facebook fiasco end? Not well. I may have killed them with kindness, but a friendship was killed in the process. I don't regret my words -- my kind words. I do regret commenting in the first place. When someone whom you considered a friend is degrading your husband, though, it's hard to just stand back and not defend the man you love. My heart is hurting today, but I am steadfast in my support for him. It's hard for me to believe sometimes, but kindness does prevail.
Angela is the mother of 3-year-old triplets. She spends her days loving and sometimes loathing the experience of raising triplets. When she's not chasing three toddlers you can find her blogging at The Triplet Farm and drinking an entire pot of coffee in one day. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.