Teaching Gratitude to Kids Through Kindness: A Challenge

kindness challenge

So in light of my interests in leading my version of a healthy life, I read a lot of online blogs.  One blog in particular,  Team Nutrition Genius, that I read, is running an event for March that I want to be part of.  Team Nutrition Genius is written by these two great women who write and talk about fitness and nutrition…among other things…This is little different:

This is a kindness event.

The premise is to show themselves and others that kindness matters.

Yes. It does.

With four kids, you know that I have my fair-share of bickering between us. And my kids, although close, have their battles between themselves on a daily, if not, hourly basis.  I have been struggling with how to show my kids how to learn kindness toward each other and gratitude for the things they have.  They have so much, and are really nice, really great kids…but we all struggle with the “wants” in life, don’t we?  We have a lot of things in place for helping to be thankful for what we have, but I know from lots of reading parenting books, that volunteering, and service to others can help a child connect with the idea of being generous, kind and thankful.

Now, we do nice things on a regular random basis, like celebrating a birthday with a surprise note, or visiting the nursing home with flowers, but I have wanted to concentrate our efforts in a way that is unmistakably giving toward others, so the kids can really absorb ( possibly it will rub off somehow on them) some of this kindness-principle, that giving to others, is a kind and generous act that we should practice regularly…and want them to be thankful for when they are the recipients of the kindnesses of others!

Well, that sort of sums it up for me.  I think kids will understand this.

The premise for the event is that for one day (yes, just one) do as many or all of the kind acts that are on the list. By doing kind acts for just one day, you can make such a huge difference to the world around us.  By cramming all these kind acts together…the kids will get it!

The list from the 22 Random Acts of Kindness event is this:

1. Make chili for local firehouse
2. Donate blood
3. Buy coffee for person behind in line
4. Help someone with their groceries
5. Leave inspirational message on 22 cars in a parking lot
6. Donate clothes
7. Visit and animal shelter (with treats!)
8. Leave quarters on parking meters/laundry machines
9. Volunteer at soup kitchen or food bank
10. Bring apples/oranges to police station
11. Visit a nursing home and bring flowers to the residents
12. Leave thank you notes on cars at local VA
13. Call a friend who needs someone to listen
14. Call parents/grandparents to say thank you and I love you
15. Shovel a driveway/mow a lawn/rake leaves
16. Give a homeless person a hot meal
17. Deliver canned goods to a food bank
18. Send a hand-written thank you note to someone who has helped you in the past
19. Send a card to a friend just because
20. Buy lottery ticket for a stranger
21. Invite a new person to join the fun
22. Buy a drink for a stranger.

I am not sure that I will do every last one of these acts in this exact way- for example, I cannot give blood, but I can substitute another nice act in its place.  Now, they plan to do all these things on March 28th, which if you haven’t figured this out yet, I have 4 kiddos to tote around on any given Saturday, so doing all the acts in one day seems a little overwhelming.  BUT possible! It is definitely a goal to strive and work toward.

I think that if we plan it right, we can use the build-up and planning for our “Kindness Day”, as part of the learning process for the bunch of us to learn a little thankfulness for what we have, kindness toward each other, and kindness to others.

Writing the notes ahead of time, deciding whose driveway to shovel, shopping for food to donate….you get it.  The kids will be actively involved in our planning toward the big event.  I love this idea.  Short term, and showing gratitude in a big way for one day will surely make a difference in my house!

I am signing up, on their Facebook Event page, and I hope you will too.

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