One night as I was putting my then almost three-year-old twins to bed, one of them called me as I was walking out of their room. I sighed as I was certain that he would want ¨just one more kiss,¨ to be tucked in again, me to kiss his stuffed animal, or get one last drink to put off bedtime just a tad longer. As I looked at him and waited he softly asked if we could get his teachers donuts in the morning. Y´all… guilt instantly fell over me as I had just assumed he was stalling. In my defense, answering about thirty different questions before my kids´ eyes finally close for bedtime might as well be a part of our nightly routine.
I hugged my son and told him that we would absolutely get his teachers donuts in the morning. Truth be told, he could have asked to get them anything and I would have probably said yes. My donut loving son had just asked if we could give to another with no alterior motive other than to do something nice for someone he cared for. To say I was proud in that moment would certainly be an understatement. I have no idea what my boys were thinking in the moment when they handed over donuts to their teachers, I don´t know if they felt warm and fuzy, or if they were satified in someone else´s gratefulness. What I do know is that I want the act of being kind people to become so natural that those feelings are apart of who they are.
As a mom, I just want to raise good children who grow to be kind-hearted adults who positively add to society. I’m raising someone’s future husband. Now while I know that my boys are only 3, I’m reminded that everything I do counts. They are watching and learning. They are building character that I can only pray is admirable. That is not only so important but slightly terrifying too! It’s like that fine line between when your child transitions from a baby to toddler and you know it the first time they say something something inappropriate. The one that you swear they didn’t hear from you!
That´s why leading by example is so crucial to a child´s upbringing. Sure I want my children to be successful in school, and I´d love for them to have extra-cirriculars they enjoy and excel in, but honestly, none of those things matter if they aren’t humble and kind in their successes.
While our family tries to spread kindness each day, one day in particular is pretty special to us. Each September we celebrate our first child´s birthday here on earth while she parties in heaven. In her memory, we have decided each year we would do acts of kindness in her name. To learn more about how we celebrate or to share your own acts, visit Acts of Kindness in Honor of Emma Kelli
Free ways for children to spread kindness:
- Write a letter to a friend thanking them
- Hold the door open for others
- Do a chore for a family member
- Leave a positive message on a sticky note in a public restroom
- Smile and compliment a stranger
- Volunteer in your community
- Mow a neighbor´s yard
Inexpensive ways for children to spread kindness:
- Tape quarters at a laundry mat, on a vending machine, or car wash
- Leave a letter and treat in the mailbox for the carrier
- Drop off water, Gatorade, or sweet treats to a fire or police station or hospital
- Take flowers to a nursing home
- Pay for the car behind you in a drive through
Regardless of how you choose to spread kindness, the important part is having conversations with your children on what you´re doing and why. Teaching children to be kind just might be the change we need to see in this often, unkind world.
¨Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.¨ -Howard Zinn