The Daily Groove

The Trickle-Down Theory of Human Kindness

In peaceful "primitive" cultures, kindness is sustained from generation to generation by a kind of "trickle-down" effect. At its core is the commonly held value of serving and delighting younger people, especially babies.

Adults appreciate and support the delight of adolescents,
 who delight in the joy of prepubescents,
  who enjoy entertaining younger children,
   who love to carry babies and play with toddlers.

The elegance of this top-down, pleasure-oriented value system is that the youngest people receive the most (and give the least) at the developmental stage when they are naturally narcissistic, while those who give more are more adept at deriving joy from giving.

In contrast...

Adults in our culture often fear adolescents,
 who call prepubescents "dweebs,"
  who disparagingly call younger children "babies,"
   who compete with real babies for scarce love and attention.

When your children behave unkindly, remember that you can't enforce authentic kindness. Instead, let it trickle down by modeling unconditional generosity. Using your creativity, find a way to serve and delight both "aggressor" and "victim" ...and yourself, too!

Comments (closed)

Re: The Trickle-Down Theory of Human Kindness

If I am kinder to my older son maybe he'll be kinder to his little brother? I hope so. Right now he seems to delight in taunting him. But they do get along well sometimes so hopefully that will win out.

Re: The Trickle-Down Theory of Human Kindness

It would also help to show your older son various ways he can be delighted by serving his little brother rather than taunting him.

In a "dominator" culture, kindness sometimes needs a bit of our help to trickle down. :)

Re: The Trickle-Down Theory of Human Kindness

Wow this is spot on for me today. My 5yo ds came out of school with a small bag of candy from someone's birthday which he didn't want to share with dd(6). He doesn't really get sharing yet... I'm keeping the faith and modelling away ... My mum was with us and I turned round to see she had wrestled the candy off him and taken some for dd. I respectfully asked her to give it back to him and explained how I try to teach kindness and sharing through modelling. My mum still thinks I'm creating a monster but it was nice to see this lovely Daily Groove! Thanks Scott.