The Gift - Written for Fil Magazine - issue two

I found myself in my mid-thirties, married with two young children. The unanticipated pressure of parenting started to mount. I began consciously leaning into the positive influences from my parents, who intuitively permeated kindness. I remember observing how they shared it with others and how it impacted their world. It was like magic, powerful magic that appeared to lift woes and inspire positivity.

After the arrival of my second son, I was met with the true enormity of motherhood. Although my childhood was underpinned with kindness, I hadn't known the real value of it until I found myself drawing from its strength as a mother.

Like many parents with a young baby, I was deeply exhausted, and my stress was rising. Still, I always had the influence of my parents' words, teachings and example. It taught me the power that we have as humans to help make our immediate world a positive place by practising kindness.

"There's no way of getting through a single day without having an impact on the world. What each of us does makes a difference. What we have to decide is what kind of difference we each want to make." Jane Goodall.

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines kindness as 'the quality or state of being kind' and to be kind is defined as 'a sympathetic or helpful nature'. Being kind can impact the world in profound ways – the emulative effect of a little smile shows how contagious it can be. The practice of kindness, even in simple applications, can have an immeasurable knock-on effect. It may sound cliché, but holding the door open for someone, letting someone into your lane, greeting a stranger… can all change the world of another.

Kindness is vital for everyone. It should be given and received. It does not cost a cent and yet can make someone feel like a million dollars. The magic of kindness breaks down barriers, transcends cultures and binds humanity. Kindness is unparalleled, affecting us both emotionally and physiologically – we stand taller, smile, stretch our shoulders back and beam from the inside.

"The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is." Jim Carey

As a mother, I fiercely encourage my sons to be kind every day. I want them to know the intense swell of joy that you get when you give kindness, and it's my hope that they'll inspire others to return this to them. Every morning I remind them to be gentle & kind - to be compassionate people. To me, this will ensure their happiness and success, and it will mean that they are careful with the people in their life – and always considerate of the broader community.

In a world where you can be anything – be kind.

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