Guest Author - Lisa Polovin Pinkus
Kindness. It is a value we wish to give to and bestow upon our children. It is something we tend to take for granted until we experience its opposite. Today, there are movements to spread kindness throughout the world. There is a science behind kindness, and research is beginning to show us that Ėboth - the benefactor and the recipient benefit from the act.
What is it about kindness that moves, motivates, and inspires us? When we offer a random act of kindness, we feel delight from having brought joy to someone else. When we receive it, we are tickled by the unexpected arrival. It is icing on the cake, so to speak.
In an effort to combat the growing incidences of evil our children are being exposed to, the movement to spread random acts of kindness is growing. More people are intentionally trying to spread good. I believe this intention to spread kindness will enhance the positive effects that scientific research on kindness has already been showing us.
Moms have an opportunity to teach their children to be natural givers. We can achieve this first by modeling such behaviors to our children, and next by creating opportunities for our children.
Here are some thoughts on spreading kindness in your community. These are all activities that your children can be involved in.
Donate used books to a school, library, or book bank.
Visit a nursing home as a family with stories, artwork, and music to share with the residents.
Teach your children to hold doors open for people or to say thank you when a door is being held open for them.
Bring cookies and cards to the police station or fire department to say thank you.
Clean up the neighborhood or a nearby park.
Keep a stack of fast food coupons in the car to give out when you see a homeless person. If you donít like the idea of passing out fast food coupons, buy an extra bag of apples at the grocery store.
Leave a dollar inside a library book with a note for the next reader to create an act of kindness and pass it on.
Here are some thoughts on spreading kindness in your home.
Create a kindness wheel that includes each member of your family. Each morning, your children can spin the wheel and do a good deed for whomever it lands on.
Brainstorm a list of ideas with your older children (for example, making their own lunches, putting away the laundry, or helping a younger sibling with homework).
Collect spare coins and decide as a family where to donate your coins.
If your children earn allowance, encourage them to set aside a portion of their allowance to give to charity.
Create a set of family rules that encourage being kind and helpful to each other.
Listen to each other. When you listen to your children, they will learn to listen to each other
Here are some ways your children can spread kindness on their own.
Find a new friend to play with at school.
Visit an elderly neighbor Ė bring their paper in, take their garbage to the street, or clean up their yard.
Find clothes that are no longer worn and toys no longer played with and take a car ride to donate them at a local shelter.
Write a note or draw a picture for a sibling to tell them why they are loved.
Help out around the house without being asked. Unload the dishwasher, wipe off the table, or clean their rooms.
Refrain from engaging in negative talk with friends. Ask your friends to change the subject, tell your friends itís not nice, or simply walk away.
Leave a surprise package on a friendís doorstep.
Write a letter to a teacher or former teacher to say thank you and tell them what you learned from them.
Kindness is infectious. As children become immersed in doing acts of kindness, you will see a transformation. Pay it forward. Pass it along. Letís make the world a better place.