These are beautiful examples of how we can raise kind and considerate children!
by Nikki Pennington | staff writer for The Snap Mom
I’ve never been one to shelter the boys from things in this world like tragedy, grief, loss and sickness. Shortly after my oldest was born, I lost my mother. He witnessed me in the midst of my grief and brokenness. He’s now five and with a compassionate heart helps me celebrate her life every year. He tells me he wishes he could “go up to Heaven and sneak her out for the day so she can see how much you’ve grown, mom.”
I want them to grow up realizing that there is a world outside our family filled with people that are sick, hurting and suffering. Some might say it is too heavy a burden for their little hearts. I say little hands and hearts are the ones that make the biggest impact on the hurt and broken. I want them to grow up to be men with kind hearts. I want them to grow up being thoughtful friends and caring husbands and fathers. I want them to grow up knowing that true joy in life is found in helping others in a time of need. It’s found in giving to someone that can’t give back. It’s not expecting a single thing in return. It sometimes even means giving until it hurts. I want them to know that it’s for family, friends and even complete strangers. I want them to hear a story of someone in need and for it to stir their hearts so badly that they want to do whatever they can for that person, even if it’s a complete stranger. I don’t want them to sit back and wait for someone else to do something first.
Today for example, we took flowers and lunch to a friend of mine. Four years ago today her mom made the beautiful trip to heaven. The boys picked out the flowers, and we surprised her at work and told her how much we loved her. Beforehand, we talked about her and how much she must miss her mom. We talked about how one small act such as flowers and lunch can make her smile today. We talked about how that one small act can make us smile too.
I want to carry on what my mom instilled in me with my children.
I have compiled a list of 20 things that we can do today to help our children avoid becoming callous to the hurting around us and instead become kind-hearted children and adults. Join me in modeling kindness to others when our children are around and help them be involved. (But be kind when they aren’t around too!)
1. Pay for someone in the drive-thru behind you, and explain it to your kids in the car.
2. Shop for a toy that you give away.
3. Ask them to use allowance to pay for someone’s layaway.
4. Take flowers to someone “just because”
5. Take cookies to the local Fire Department or Police Station.
6. Sell old toys and donate the money to a charity.
7. Take bubbles to the park to give to others.
8. Draw a picture for someone.
9. Help them write a “thank you” note to someone that has helped them.
10. Make get well cards for those in the hospital.
11. Send dessert to someone in a restaurant.
12. Compliment a friend
13. Leave change in a vending machine.
14. Ask for birthday or Christmas gifts that can be donated to a children’s hospital.
15. Visit a nursing home with handmade cards and cookies.
16. Volunteer (Yes, even with your toddler.)
17. Start a “Charity Jar”- A portion of their allowance goes into the jar and they use it to do something kind for someone else.
18. Have them take breakfast into their school teacher.
19. Help them write a note with a treat and give it to the school janitor.
20. Leave a special treat or thank you note in the mailbox for the mailman.
There are so many things we can do ourselves and have our children help with daily that can help them have a sensitive heart to those around them. Let’s raise kids with big hearts. After all, little hands can make big impacts on the hearts of others.
About the author:
Nikki is a stay at home mom to three high spirited boys. Three years ago she became a motherless daughter after losing her own mom to terminal brain cancer. When she is not playing the role of referee for the boys, she spends her days trying to encourage and inspire others that are on the grief journey.