Did You Know that KINDNESS is the “New Classy?”
By Ed DeRoche
July 2018 Blog

In June, I wrote a blog on “kindness” noting a few highlights from a new book written by Professor Thomas Lickona, How to Raise Kind Kids: And Get Respect, Gratitude, and a Happier Family in the Bargain. The blog set the stage for his presentation at our annual “Character Matters” conference in late June.

The weekend following the conference, I went to a bookstore and I discovered a book on the same topic titled Kind is the New Classy. It was written by Candace Cameron Bure (CCB). I bought the book.

I read the book as a teacher and parent would; that is, what could I take from this book on kindness that I might use in my home and classroom?

CCB’s book is faith-based. She reveals a strong belief in God (example: “Go to God First,” p.73). She uses quotes from Scripture to underscore her views and comments about “kindness.” She writes that the secret she has learned is that “kindness is classy, unexpected, even counter- cultural, and ultimately wins the day.”

In the book’s introduction, titled “The Real Secret of Classy Women,” she writes: “I believe our world is in need of more women who value the virtue of kindness….In this book, we will talk about character traits (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self- control) I believe make women truly remarkable…it simply takes choice and lifelong practice.”

I liked the way CCB framed each of her 10 chapter titles.

1. Finding Your “Why”– Kindness knows its purpose
2. Grace under Fire – Kindness keeps its cool even in hot topics
3. Kindness, Please – Kindness recognizes the image of God in all people
4. Dream Big, Pray Harder – Kindness gets ambitious for the good of others
5. Bad Hair Days and Bad Heart Days – Kindness practices healthy self-care
6. The Gift of Self-Control – Kindness takes responsibility for its choices and actions
7. Come On In – Kindness opens its door 
and life to others
8. Graciously Bold – Kindness steps forward in confidence for what’s right
9. My Best Friendship Advice – Kindness works to cultivate meaningful relationships
10. Sending Out the Bat-Signal – Kindness starts small and trusts every action matters

Each chapter tells the why and how through stories, quotes, and examples. She concludes each chapter with an invitation called “Your Turn.”

Here are a few excerpts from the book that caught my attention.

• Manners Matter – “Good manners are about putting others’ needs first, before your own.”

• Kindness “sends out chemical shock waves. It increases our mental, emotional, and physical energy, helping us to combat negative forces like anxiety and high blood pressure.”

• “Kindness, compassion, and empathy are values we can all get behind regardless of whether we agree on every issue.”

• CCB’s chapter on “self-control” is instructive. “It is a gift,” she writes, that “God has given me, and my job is to use it.”

• She notes three areas in which to use the gift of self-control: “our bodies, our minds, and our souls.”

• She reminds us that “the only thing you can truly control is your own behavior.”

• One last gem that caught my attention has to do with her six characteristics for choosing our friends. “I want friends,” she writes, “who are kind, strong, loyal, gentle, encouraging, and principled.”

Kind is the New Classy and it should be. CCB tells us why and how. She discusses character traits such as peace, goodness, faithfulness, and empathy. She reminds us of the importance of self-control, manners, and friendships.

My “kind” advice as a parent and teacher: Buy the book! Read it! Use it! Share it!

As Forrest Gump might say it: “Kindness is, what kindness does.” It is about caring and respecting. What it does benefits givers and receivers.

Ed DeRoche, Director, Character Education Resource Center, SOLES

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