Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Kind Mothers Raise Kind Daughters

I’ve lived a lot of places, enough places to know that as women, we are more alike, no matter what our culture, than we are different. And there is one thing about women – sometimes we are our own worst enemies.

Learning to be kind was a life-long journey for me. I can spot the unkind now; they are the ones who hiss in the corners, saying mean things – usually about other women. They are the ones who will point the finger and you know that they are pointing at someone else because they are so afraid someone will look too closely at them.

I choose kind friends; they are pearls without price. (LOL, I actually wrote “pears” without price 😉 ) I look with awe on my sweet daughter-in-law who is both kind, and raising kind children. As the singer Jewell says – “in the end, only kindness matters.”

I did not write this. This is a reprint from a Huffpost News article, reprinting from the original blog, which you can see at the bottom of the article. It is a cold wintery day in Pensacola, and this story warmed my heart.

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When my daughter Ella was in fourth grade, she got in the car one day after school and announced her plan to run for student council.

At her school each class has a representative, and I was thrilled she planned to put her name in the hat. Even if she didn’t win, it would be a good experience.

She told me almost every girl in her class was running, as well as one or two boys. As kindly as possible, I mentioned the boys might have an advantage since the girl votes could be split, as that can happen in elections. I told Ella I was proud of her for putting herself out there, and that she’d make a great representative if elected.

The next day after school, Ella mentioned a dilemma she and her friend Annie had “figured out.” On Friday all candidates had to give a speech. Since our family was going to the beach Friday, Ella wouldn’t be there to give hers.

“But Annie had a great idea,” Ella said, referencing one of her best friends, who was in Ella’s class that year. “She suggested that I do a video speech, and she’ll play it for everyone.”

I was very touched by this suggestion from Annie. Why? Because Annie was running against Ella for student council. Yet instead of treating Ella like a competitor, she treated her like a friend.

Ella’s teacher agreed to the video speech, so we made it and sent it on. I didn’t think much more about the election until Friday afternoon around 3 p.m., when I was soaking up an ocean view of the Gulf Coast and received an email from Ella’s teacher. She had great news: Ella had won the election! Her classmates had voted her onto student council.

Our family hugged and congratulated Ella. I could tell by the shy smile on her face what her peers’ vote of confidence meant to her. About ten minutes later, my cell phone rang. It was Annie’s mom (one of my close friends) calling us from her cell.

“We are so thrilled about Ella!” she said, her voice joyful and triumphant. “It was the first thing Annie told me when she got in the car! She’s sooooo excited! We couldn’t be happier if it happened to her!”

The phone call didn’t surprise me, because that was typical for this family. What caught me off-guard was the timing of the call. These were 10-year-olds, after all, and 10-year-old emotions can be fragile. Their automatic instinct isn’t always happiness for a friend who got something they wanted, too. Had the tables been turned, I’m not sure the call would have happened so fast. We may have had to work through a little disappointment — if even for a minute — before focusing on our friend.

But to Annie and her mom, a victory for Annie’s best friend was a victory for Annie. A win for one was a win for both. If you ask me, that’s the perfect illustration of true friendship. It’s how it should work at every level.

All four of my girls have found friends similar to Annie. While no friendship is perfect, I’ve been surprised by some of the kindness I’ve seen at young ages. They know how to look out for a friend. They get it. And can I tell you what their kind friends all have in common? Kind mothers. Time and time again, I’ve become friends with the moms I meet through my children’s beloved friends because they’re good souls. I don’t think it’s a coincidence their children are, too.

We all want to raise kind daughters. We want them to be good friends and have good friends. While I give Annie full credit for supporting Ella — she suggested the video, after all, and was quick to celebrate her win — I know she didn’t pull that mindset out of thin air. She picked it up from her family because that’s how they think.

A win for a friend is a win for both.

Kindness among young girls doesn’t start on the playground or in the locker room — it starts at home. Most notably, it starts with kind mothers raising kind daughters. Our girls see how we treat our friends. They also notice how we treat their friends.

If we treat their friends as competitors, our daughters will, too. If we love their friends like we love our own children, they’re more likely to see them as sisters and part of the family.

Keep in mind it wasn’t just Annie cheering when Ella won student council. It was Annie’s mom, too. She was just as enthusiastic. Can I tell you what that meant to me? Can you imagine the trust that added to our relationship?

Quite honestly, I think it’s rare for both a mother and daughter to instinctively rejoice as these two did. Then again, maybe it just proves the point.

We moms rub off on our girls. Over time our way of thinking becomes their way of thinking. If we want to raise kind daughters, we need to start by being kind mothers.

This post originally appeared on KariKampakis.com.

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January 28, 2014 - Posted by | Character, Civility, Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Friends & Friendship, Parenting, Pensacola

11 Comments »

  1. This is brilliant, and beautiful. My wife and I are expecting our first child in about 5 months, and I am constantly thinking about how to be a good parent. Although this article is fairly gender specific to women, the same theory applies to men and their children as well. I want my child to learn to be kind and compassionate, and to see what examples of good friendship looks like from my wife and I. Fantastic post. I hope you will check my blog out as well!

    Comment by jcw0623 | January 28, 2014 | Reply

    • JCW, congratulations, and you already sound like a caring Dad 🙂 Children learn from their parents; they soak it in, like osmosis. What you model, they will do. You will hear your own words come out of their mouths. It is a most awesome responsibility, and our kids teach us a whole new way of looking at the world.

      Comment by intlxpatr | January 28, 2014 | Reply

      • Thank you so much! I’m certainly doing my best to prepare and contemplate how I will act, but nobody knows what to do until they actually have the little peanut here in their arms. We will just have to see where the journey goes. I’m thrilled for this responsibility, but also slightly terrified. I certainly hope I don’t screw my kid up too bad. Haha

        Comment by jcw0623 | January 28, 2014

  2. LOL at your mistake!! I may more closely resemble a pear than a pearl these days!!!

    Comment by momcatwa | January 28, 2014 | Reply

  3. This is a really sweet article. In a recent dinner with a very international group of friends we spoke about parenting and marriage. I told them what the Kuwaitis say about making a choice: “When you want to choose a girl, look at her mother, and when you want to choose a husband, look at his friends.” I think this is very insightful and makes a lot of sense. That’s why when a man picks a wife he better be damn sure he’d be proud if his daughter turned out like her mama. Some men love women they’d never be proud to have as daughters or even sisters. I’ve gone off topic, haven’t I? Love this article and hope and pray to God that if I should ever be so lucky as to have a little girl she will find friends like Annie.

    Comment by Razan | January 29, 2014 | Reply

    • 🙂

      Comment by Razan | January 29, 2014 | Reply

      • LOL

        Comment by intlxpatr | January 29, 2014

    • How could you have any other kind of little girl, Razan? 🙂 (beaming) Kind daughters learn from kind mothers 🙂

      Comment by intlxpatr | January 29, 2014 | Reply

  4. “women being there worst enemies” , This is why women don’t hold a bigger share in any political or elective body across the globe in developed or undeveloped countries.In kuwait 2 women won seats out of 50 in the last election , one of them lost her seat due to recount . In kuwait women have a slight majority over men in the voting registers.

    No wise man would comment on these women issues when they come up in discussion at home or work , lest he be in the cross hair instead of the opponent . In those matters our motto is ” IN GOD WE TRUST”
    I can see AdevtureMan nodding his head in approval and quietly going about the task at hand

    Comment by daggero | January 31, 2014 | Reply

    • LOL, LOL, LOL. If we can ever learn to be kind to one another, to encourage and support one another, to forgive ourselves failure and persist in our goals, we will thrive and . . . . PREVAIL!

      Comment by intlxpatr | February 1, 2014 | Reply


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