The Kindness Challenge by Shaunti Feldhahn (Book Review)
Could there be more to learn about kindness than we already know? Shaunti Feldhahn removes the "kindness blindness" and reveals insightful perspectives in The Kindness Challenge: Thirty Days to Improve Any Relationship.
In her 224-page book published by Waterbrook (December 2016), Feldhahn includes summary charts as well as testimonials from some of the 700 participants who took her 30-Day Kindness Challenge as support for her findings. Her conclusion is that kindness is a super power which can transform any kind of relationship -- between spouses, social friends, business colleagues, family members.
Throughout the book, she makes reference to her website dedicated to the support of individuals and groups who are interested in taking the kindness challenge, which has the potential to impact our culture.
About Shaunti Feldhahn
Feldhahn draws on her educational background in analysis to conduct innovate research into human behavior and relationships. She has published several research-based books of which For Women Only may be the most popular.
For this book on kindness, Feldhahn spent years "investigating, refining, testing, and quantifying specific tests that make a huge difference to any relationship." She wants her readers to know:
"The concept is simple, but that doesn't mean it is effortless, in part because we really don't know how to be kind. You may find that absurd. But I promise you; you almost certainly don't. At least not in the way it works best. And what works best is what I'll be walking you through in this book."
She is a popular speaker appearing with her co-author husband at about 50 events per year. Their books have been featured on The Today Show, Family Life Today and in the New York Times.
Shaunti Feldhahn's Kindness Curriculum
The book, The Kindness Challenge is divided into three parts. Part III consists of three specialized versions of the challenge prepared for a husband, a wife and anyone else. They provide daily instructions for thirty days. The instructions are practical, fun, challenging sometimes, but rewarding according to most people who have been through the process.
Parts l and ll consist of the teaching to be applied in part three. The text is easy to follow especially because Feldhahn numbers her points as they might be in a class curriculum. For example:
- two types of kindness: targeted (specific to one individual) and broad (to impact several people;
- three distinct areas of kindness: thought, word and action;
- seven negativity patterns: negative ways in which we confront unkind behavior, without being aware of our unkindness and the damaging results--two of the ways being sarcasm and retaliation;
- ten tricky traps of affirmation: obstacles and objections to offering praise which replaces the damages of negativity--some of the traps having to do with our faulty opinion that people have to deserve kindness if we will be kind to them;
- eight types of kindness: ways in which kindness really matters--one of the ways being giving without expectation.
Plus Features of the Book
First, Feldhahn knows that the thought patterns of males and females are different, so immediately after the chapter on practical ways to practice kindness, she writes a special chapter for husbands, which she is aware that women will read, because in the words of one of her advisers,
" It only makes sense that the way we communicate kindness to each other would be different for men than for women--everything else is!"
Her thirty days of kindness tips also make different suggestions for husband and wives.
Secondly, she acts the part of an encouraging coach throughout the book. Many of her illustrations are about people who found the challenge difficult because of their misconceptions which had to revamped, or because they expected the relationship to improve in less time than it did. She offers encouragement by describing the various forms in which kindness brought satisfaction, not only to the kindness target, but also to the kindness practitioner.
Further, she shows her findings in various charts, which shows her readers that results will vary. The chart below, arranged slightly different than hers to fit the properties of this table is captioned "You Change, They Change." It records how shows how people responded to the question:
"As you think about your partner's development as a person, do you think they have changed for the better or worse in the last few months?"
Changed for the Better
Changed for the Worse
35% Changed a bit
2% Changed a bit
39% Changed a lot
1% Changed a lot
74% Total change
23% Haven't changed
3% Total change
This book will help anyone who is interested in optimizing the all-round benefits of a relationship that is already established. Those who want to begin a relationship of any kind--friendship, marriage, positive association with in-laws or business colleagues will have the benefit of starting off correctly and avoiding the pitfalls which can result from unintentional unkindness.
The testimonials from kindness practitioners stating how enriched they feel when intentional kindness becomes a habit, have convinced me to take the challenge.
I received this book free from the publisher through Blogging for Books (www.bloggingforbooks.com). The opinions I have expressed are my own.
© 2017 Dora Weithers