Finding Kind

Finding Kind

Girl on girl bullying is a real problem and rampant throughout the country’s middle and high schools.  Its no wonder the movie Mean Girls became an instant cult classic among girls of all ages. Mean Girls was based on the New York Times Best Seller Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman, a novel that exposed the hidden and insidious world of girl on girl violence.

Finding Kind is a 2010 documentary that is quickly gaining accolades and attention for its potential impact on the world of girl on girl bullying. In it, filmmakers Lauren Parsekian and Molly Thompson set out on a cross-country journey to discover the universal truths about growing up female and use these experiences to find common ground where kindness and mutual respect can grow.

As the parent of a teenage girl, I have witnessed the confusion many girls experience trying to bridge their innate desire to be kind and their primal need to belong, sometimes by any means necessary.

Author Rachel Simmons, author of the New York Times Best Sellers Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls and The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence, writes, “I often joke that if girls had to rank their life needs in order of importance, the list would go something like this: friends, air, water, food, phone, computer. Truth is, I’m only half kidding. Relationships are at the core of girls’ psychological health.”

The sad reality is that kindness does not top the list of the most important qualities desired in a friend. Appearance and popularity are valued much more than being nice. Wiseman writes, “Your daughter’s friendships with other girls are a double-edged sword—they’re key to surviving adolescence, yet they can be the biggest threat to her survival as well. The friendships with the girls in her clique are a template for many relationships she’ll have as an adult.”

Fortunately, a movement to promote kindness, compassion and mutual respect is growing and building momentum, and Finding Kind can be used as a tool for educators and parents to teach these valuable lessons. The documentary is particularly useful because it looks at girls of all ages through adulthood. By exposing the truth behind why girls and women are mean to one another, the film cracks open the heart of the issues, while opening the hearts of its audience.

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Be Right or Be Kind

Came across this quote this morning from a woman who has been a huge influence in my life; 
Anne Lamott

“You can either practice being right or practice being kind.”
― Anne Lamott
When it comes to shining a humorous and glaringly accurate light on family dynamics, Annie has literally written the book. The relationship between righteousness and kindness is, dare I say, incestuous.  Kindness is often preached more than taught.  Righteous kindness is an oxymoron. Sure, we can all wax philosophical on what kindness means and how it should be practiced.  But in the moment, when we are touting the importance of being kind, isn’t there a faint (or repugnant) smell of righteousness? And does that illicit kind reciprocity or righteous repulsion?

The Kindness Games

What if the most coveted award was for kindness? Kindness awards are handed out liberally in grade school, encouraging kids to be kind.  Then kids move into middle and high school where peers and pop culture hold their gaze and kindness loses its cache to coolness. What if the kindest male and female celebrities were awarded for their kindness?  The kindest man and woman in business?  Ellen? Oprah? Eminem? Katniss?