Kids Imitate Kindness - SLO Classical Academy
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Welcome to Down Home, San Luis Obispo Classical Academy’s blog! We are a classical school offering several options to make our education work for families with infants through high schoolers. Our signature hybrid program, which is part-time classroom and part-time home instruction, provides an engaging education for preschool through middle school (with full time options available). We also have a university model high school. This blog is meant to support and encourage on the home front because, in so many ways, the heart of what happens at SLO Classical Academy happens down home.

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Kids Imitate Kindness

A couple of weeks ago we shared a resource called “100 Ways to Be Kind to Your Child” from While perusing this inspiring blog a bit further I came across a follow-up post to this that I found personally helpful and hopeful when it comes to nurturing kindness in our kids. So I wanted to share a few of my takeaways from it, as well as the link.

In the article “They Imitate Kindness,” writer Alissa Marquess shares some highly relatable thoughts about parenting and a few practical ideas for being purposeful in helping our kids choose kindness. Here are my mental notes from her wise words:

1. Kids will imitate us, for better or for worse. (I’ve noticed.)

2. Rather than let that get me down (because how often do I hear my children repeating words or a tone that I know they got from me?), I can view it as a tool to grow character in both myself and my kids. Alissa uses the phrase “something to do rather than something to stop,” and this is definitely a helpful way to initiate change. She said it of herself and it’s true for me too: I do better with a thing TO do instead of something NOT do to. So…


3. I can give them kindness to imitate. It can be as simple as using phrases like the few she shares:

I’m reminding the kids that that’s what we’re working on. When they use an exasperated tone with their siblings I hear my own exasperation in their voices and it doubles my determination to be kind.

I say, “Hey, remember we’re all working on using a kind voice.  We can speak respectfully.  Do you hear how my voice is calm?”

I apologize when I have snapped and say, “I’m sorry, I really snapped.  We’re working on using kind voices.  Let me try that again.”

I’m encouraged and motivated to have this same determination and use this kind of language in my home. I know that even if I don’t see immediate results, it will work, because as Alissa writes:

 “Those kids crave kindness. They crave the answer to how to deal with their frustration in ways that don’t make them feel worse.”

little o photography


4. I know I’ll still get impatient and lose my cool at times, but she encourages readers to know that we don’t have to handle every situation perfectly, we just need to practice using a kind tone even when we are upset. If that’s what we’re asking our kids to do, we can do our best to show them how it’s done.

Read her full article here and I hope you will be encouraged and inspired too! 

One final thought – she ends with this quote:

“I would rather make mistakes in kindness and compassion than work miracles in unkindness and hardness.”

~ Mother Teresa

Words to live by in all areas of life, but I thought I could apply this quote specifically to my SLOCA home days as well: I would rather make homeschooling mistakes in kindness and compassion than get everything done on the grid perfectly (which would be a miracle) in unkindness and hardness. 

There have been days when I felt like we finished everything on the grid, but my demeanor was edged with a little hardness. I admit, it feels good to check off all the boxes and get it all done. But when I’m grumpy about all that we need to do, the kids aren’t lining up with my plan, and I’m focused on checking off the boxes, I lose my joy, the ability to connect with my kids, and often kindness. 


It’s a difficult balance to keep working diligently on completing home day assignments while also capturing our kids’ hearts and nurturing that love of learning and character growth (like kindness) that we so strongly desire. But if you feel this way, you’re in good company! We are all feeling it, and we aren’t going to do it perfectly, and it’s okay. Let’s make mistakes in kindness, and be a community that reaches out to each other in encouragement and support. This is a special place, and I’m so thankful that each of you are a part of it. 

What about you? How does this article resonate with what you’re experiencing at home? Thanks for sharing your comments below…

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