Like most families, we are constantly on the go between school, sports, and other activities. But as I inventory where we’re spending our time, I find (embarrassingly) that most of our activities benefit only ourselves. Our athletic pursuits are fun and keep us in shape. Our shopping keeps us fed and in current clothing styles. Even some of our service work seems to be aimed at selfish motives – looking good on a college or job application or getting a photo posted on social media doing some “good.”
I want my kids to learn how great it feels to be kind to others without getting anything in return.
I often thinks of small, nice things I could do for a friend, family member or stranger. Sadly, I only rarely act on those ideas. That bothers me, because my kids will learn by seeing what I actually do, not from my unfulfilled intentions.
One time last year, we acted on one of our kindness ideas, and it has had a lasting impact on all of us. On Veterans Day 2013, we made some cookies and wrote thank you notes to our neighbor Ben, who served in Vietnam. The cookies and the notes brought him to tears, because Vietnam vets have, sadly, received very little gratitude for their service. This year, my sons were excited to once again bake and decorate some cookies and write thank you letters to Ben. They now understand how big an impact their small acts of kindness can have.
Tomorrow is World Kindness Day (November 13), and my family is going to celebrate by doing some kind things. These random days that some organization chooses and expects us all to participate in (e.g. Camp T-shirt day coming up on November 18!) are easy to ignore because they are so prolific, but I think kindness is a worthy cause, so I’m going along for this particular made-up holiday, and I’m dragging my family along with me. Because a day that helps us all practice a little more kindness is a great idea.
For the teachers and camp counselors out there, check out what this first grade teacher did by creating a Kindness Club:
Wouldn’t it be great to have one of those clubs in every school and camp?
Below are some great, easy kindness ideas to do on World Kindness Day (and any other day). My family is going to brainstorm our “kindness to do” list tonight and spread some kindness tomorrow. I’ll hold myself accountable by getting on here tomorrow and commenting what we end up doing. I hope you’ll share what your family does for World Kindness Day, too, if you decide to participate.
Kindness-Related Posts & Resources:
The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation
World Kindness Day
Happiness Habits (Sunshine Parenting)
Happiness Tip: Commit to Kindness (Christine Carter, Raising Happiness)
Friday Inspiration: 22 Acts of Kindness (Christine Carter): Such a great birthday idea!