Nobody wants their kid to be the mean kid, right?! I mean, let’s be honest, friends. How do we avoid our kid being the “mean kid” in class and on the playground? Well, kindness is both caught and taught. The season of thankfulness and kindness is upon us, so let’s take advantage of this precious time we have with our children while they are in our homes to teach some invaluable lessons.
Our Perfect Example
As children we must be taught how to think of others more than ourselves and how to treat them with kindness. We are born with a selfish sin nature that naturally leans toward only thinking of ourselves. As such, we need to be taught how to love others well. Fortunately, we have Jesus as our perfect example, and I believe He gives us creative techniques to teach His ways to our kiddos.
It Starts With Us
An old pastor of mine used to say that you can’t expect your children to have any closer of a relationship with the Lord than you do. And I believe we can apply that same truth to kindness. Besides God himself, we are our children’s ultimate example of how to be good humans and love others well. We can’t expect our kids to show kindness unless we teach them, and they learn best by watching our actions. As such, we must check ourselves (before we wreck ourselves, haha!) for our attitudes that we display and how we practice kindness in our personal lives. It truly starts in our hearts. When God’s love is allowed to shine its light into our souls, kindness should be what overflows.
The following are a few ways we can train our kids to practice kindness:
In Your Family
I am a firm believer that if we can learn to be kind to those in our own homes, we can be kind to anyone! We are a light in a dark world when we, as families, learn to truly love and care for one another. This is not an easy task, but I believe God has graced us with what we need to teach this to our kids. None of us will ever have perfect kids or the perfect family, but I believe teaching our kids Biblical truths about being known for their love for each other speaks volumes to a world that needs to see Jesus in our families. Some examples of this are your kids offering to help each other in their chores or all out doing a chore for them, just because. On a day where the family is all going to be in the car together, one sibling could let the other choose his/her seat first so that they can have “the best seat.” Another idea could be while having a family dinner, you have a “night of encouragement” where you go around the table and each person takes a turn saying what his/her favorite thing is about each of his/her siblings. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but simple acts of kindness can go a very long way in relationships.
In Your Neighborhood and Church
Another way we can teach our kids to show kindness during this season is by sitting together and talking about how we can show others whom we live around and interact with that we care on a regular basis. Is there maybe an elderly person on your street who could use a pretty potted plant to decorate his/her front porch? One Saturday you and your children could make pumpkin muffins and deliver them to a local fire or police station to show your gratitude for their service. You could also have your child write a note to his/her Sunday school teacher or youth pastor thanking them for the time he/she takes to teach him/her and for being a blessing.
In Your School
Teaching your child to have an awareness of others in his/her life is a valuable lesson he/she can carry through the rest of their lives. Teaching him/her to train his/her eyes to see the needs of others and having an attitude that seeks to serve is one of the most honorable values we can teach our kiddos. Training your son or daughter to get in the habit of asking his/her teacher if they need help throughout the day would not only be an excellent exercise in kindness, but also bless the socks off his/her teacher!!! Can you imagine his/her reaction?! Talk about a pass to go straight to the treasure box! Haha! I digress. Or, how about asking your child to think of a classmate who could use a friend. I’m referring to that student who maybe doesn’t quite fit in or who typically gets chosen last for Red Rover in P.E. You could encourage your child to go out of his/her way to ask that friend to play at recess or sit by them at lunch and share his/her cookies.
Our world is moving fast, especially during the holiday season, and if we are not careful we can lose precious opportunities to teach our kids to be conduits of love and kindness. It starts with us, fellow moms and dads. Starting this Christmas season, we have so many opportunities to practically live out our values with our kids! Don’t miss out!!!