Dear Darcy,

What a wonderful article! There is no better way to use our words than on our children, especially when we want them to use words, too, instead of acting out!

When my daughter was 6, I had to put drops into her eyes & they stung. As she lay on the sofa, crying, her then 2-year-old brother climbed on top of her so he could comfort her. I’m not sure this kind of empathy can be taught.

They are 20 & 16 now, & didn’t always get along, but they do now, & in no small part because they grew up with all of us talking & treating each other with respect & kindness.

Yes, we did say, “Be kind,” (not “nice,” that’s vague & broad) as the shorthand on the playground, but we talked about kindness all the time at home, what it means to us & to them, what are some shapes kindness takes, what is the opposite of kindness. So kindness wasn’t some abstract thing but a concrete reality to be lived. And not just for girls so boys could grow us with a great excuse to be bullies!

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Writer and storyteller, immigrant, wife, mom, knitter, collector of jokes, lover of cheap, sweet wine.

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