Once upon a time, not all that long ago, lived a queen in a very small kingdom. She had two sons she loved very much but were, as young princes are wont to do, they were filled with energy and excitement about everything wonderful and unknown in their whole kingdom. Every. Single. Day.
They could rise at dawn and run all day from castle to meadow, to valley, to hilltop, to pond… Determined to fill every day to its absolute limit, they barreled through life with joyful abandon. How could the queen keep up? Even the castle puppy was overwhelmed!
This was all very tiring for the queen and, while she knew the good king would be happy to give her any help the kingdom had available, she was a proud queen and admitting she was overwhelmed felt like admitting defeat. She began to resent all the time and effort the young princes demanded from her through the day. She felt they only used her for access to the royal kitchen and to supervise their royal bathing times.
So she struggled through. Every day the same battles, every day the same frustrations, until she barely resembled the young beautiful, optimistic queen the king remembered from long ago. The regal and gracious tones one would expect from a queen were replaced by sharpness and coldness. In their castle, her anger kept her all alone in the very center of their busy little kingdom. Her heart had grown so very hard.
The more she worked to control dynamite in princely forms, to somehow keep them from exploding throughout the castle, the more the entire royal family fought until one day she felt she just couldn’t do it anymore! Much to the dismay of the subjects of the kingdom! Even Lady Raspberry and Lord Scooby cowered in their chambers when the queen walked by.
Until one day. One wonderful, terrible day…
Tears were on her face that sunny afternoon as the royal white coach rolled down Market Road.
The youngest prince, who was so very young at the time, spoke from the depths of his royal booster seat ensconced on burgundy velvet in the recesses of the coach. Clearly ringing through the vehicle, in his high, sweet voice, he said,
“Anger rests in the bosom of fools, mama!”
It was as though a spotlight shone down from heaven exposing all that unsightly harshness and her heart melted into all the softness she once had shared with the court. In that moment, the weight of all she needed to control and the chains of anger slid off her figurative shoulders in a single movement like taking off the royal cloak at the conclusion of the holiday ball.
The queen raised her head, dried her tears, and began to smile again.
And that was how it all began.
She began to learn the value of kindness. Like a miracle, in one tiny exchange of love from a very tiny prince to a very angry mama queen, she began to change.
And they all lived happily ever after.
Ok, not really. But we tried really hard.
I wish I could say that I (the queen, in case you haven’t caught up yet) never became angry again but that would be so far from true it’s not funny.
Being kind and gentle is more than a choice it’s a necessity for a kingdom, ahem, a home to run smoothly.
What it looks like to be kind to young children is a bit different than what it looks like to be kind to young adults but there are principles which resonate between hearts no matter how old we are.
- Stop trying to control everything and learn to just live the life you’ve been blessed to live.
- Take the time to listen to their words. Stopping your busy life for someone else is a gift that is felt deeper than we can imagine.
- Remember their special passions and learn about them then ask good questions.
- Give the advice that comes from the life you have truly lived. There is power in honesty. There is authority in sincerity.
- Don’t give advice all the time. Learn how to shut up sometimes too.
- Hug them when they hurt. Hug them when they fail. Hug them when they celebrate. Hug them when they win. Just hug them for no reason. They won’t always be there to hug.
- Encourage them. All the time. Not just when it’s obvious.
- Stop talking all the time and remember to walk softly. Speak gently. Love wholeheartedly.
This is the currency of kindness and the dividends are endless.
Even 14 years later.