It goes without saying that the Holidays is a time of giving. From Halloween to Valentine's Day, I am constantly preaching its importance. This year, I realized if I continue to encourage (read: force) my kids to give to others, they will discover eye-rolling at a much earlier age. For the past few years, I have marched my kids to the toy aisle and asked them to pick out a toy to give to a kid who won't have one on Christmas. Then we drive it over to the Toys-For-Tots barrel and leave it there, trusting that whomever receives it will be happy and feel our love from afar. This is more of a form of torture for a kid, especially for my kids who rarely get to go to the toy store, let alone leave with something for themselves. Plus, as my daughter pointed out, Santa is supposed to make sure each child gets a toy, so is there some kind of hole in the system if some of them are getting missed?!!!
I realized the lesson I was trying to teach was not landing and was probably creating some resentments too. While toy drives and food drives are an excellent way to give, there is no "payoff". My children can't see the good they are doing and receive the inspiration to continue to do more good when they place things in a barrel. So this week, we are going to do a Random Act of Kindness. I asked my daughters a few questions this week to see if we might be able to come up with something THEY want to do. Here are some prompts/suggestions that might help YOU help THEM discover how to help SOMEONE ELSE:
- if I gave you one dollar, but you couldn't keep it for yourself, what would you do with it?
- is there something in the world that you don't like that you wish you could make better? What could we do to make it better?
- Practice your own Act of Kindness in their presence--they may be inspired if they see you "Paying-it-Forward".
- remember that pets, the environment, schools, friends, neighbors, parents with new babies, the elderly can be recipients of your "Act of Kindness".
- Trust that with a little encouragement and conversation, children can discover their own way to give. Honor that discovery and assist them in making it happen without editing their idea.