This fall we had a young couple stop in our office asking, “Do you have a preschool here?” I quickly answered “Yes,” and began mentally preparing to give information about classes, enrollment, etc. They surprised me however by saying, “Here, could you use these?” It was a bag filled with small paper cups, napkins and paper towels. They explained they are going around doing random acts of kindness. How heartwarming. It certainly made my day and I have thought about it often since.
Ms. Shelly shared a Devotion Worship message this fall based on the book “Fill A Bucket” by Carol Mc Cloud. This book does a wonderful job of explaining for children the concept of each person having a bucket (or spirit) that can be filled by other’s kind deeds. The children quickly embraced this wonderful concept. At school, we love noticing when a child shares a toy, helps hold a door open, carries supplies for a teacher, etc. and thanking him or her for “filling up a bucket.” A child’s joy at being able to do something special for another person is such a priceless gift.
January is typically a month for resolutions and thinking of ways we can better ourselves. As I thought about our “Fill a Bucket” devotion and the random act of kindness, I began thinking how good it would be to help children be intentional about doing good for others. We can turn the love from of our own filled buckets into kind and helpful actions. Of course with young children we need to break something like this into simple, manageable discussions or concrete actions.
I found a youtube video of a Fill Your Bucket song by the Learning Station. You can see the song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaddbqEQ1NE This might be a good way to begin a conversation about this topic at home. I would encourage you to make a list of things you could do as a family, as adults, as children to show kindness to others. Here are a few ideas:
AS A FAMILY:
- Pick up trash at a neighborhood park
- Shovel a neighbor’s driveway or sidewalk
- Take a meal to someone who is sick
- Visit a nursing home – share pictures or songs with some of the residents
- Collect stuffed animals and take them to a local fire department or children’s hospital
AS AN ADULT:
- Write a thank you letter to someone who was influential in your life
- Pay something toward the order of the person behind you in a fast food drive through
- Do a chore that is typically one your spouse does
AS A CHILD:
- Look a cashier in the eye and say THANK YOU
- Hold the door open for someone as you enter a public building
- Write/draw notes for people you see everyday (the mail delivery person, your teacher :), your Pastor, etc.)
- Share one of your toys with the Salvation Army Family Lodge
These lists by no means cover all possibilities. Hopefully these will give you a foundation to come up with your own ideas. I encourage you to find a way each day to share about times each of you have shown kindness. Make a big poster, light a candle while you talk or write them on slips of paper to fill up a jar. Simple rituals like these will make a big impact on young children.
We will be discuss this idea once we are all back at school (by the way, school begins again on January 3rd.) We will find a way to celebrate kind acts there as well. Watch for more information about this.
“Kindness is a language the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
I hope we can promote more kindness in ourselves, our children and our world.
Here are some websites I found that talk about showing Kindness. I hope 2013 can be a year we http://www.randomactsofkindness.org/kindness-ideas