Teaching Our Children Kindness

TeachingKindness

A couple of weeks ago, new neighbors moved into the house next to us. I decided to make them cookies so our family could deliver them and introduce ourselves. While I was at the grocery picking out cookie mix {because who has time to make them from scratch?} I began explaining to my 2 year old what we were doing. I told her she could help me make cookies, and we were going to bring them to our new neighbors. I explained that we would tell them our names and ask them their names. We were going to do something kind for them. God tells us to love others, and this was a way we could show them love.

Later that day, we put on our aprons and made the cookies…and of course, made sure to taste test too. My daughter was eager to bring them the cookies and kept asking if it was time yet. It took a couple tries to catch them when they were home. And while we waited, my little girl asked me over and over again if we could go to the neighbor’s house. In fact, it was the first thing she asked me the following morning too.

This got me to thinking…it is a great joy and privilege to teach our children kindness. And it is never too early to start. I was quite surprised at how eager and excited my 2 year old was to do something kind. I didn’t think she would really care or be interested, but I was wrong.

Some things are easier and quicker to just do yourself. Like picking up toys, for example. I could tidy up the play room in less than 5 minutes by myself. It takes twice as long if I try to get my little one to do it. But I know it is important to teach her to take care of her things and clean up after herself. So we sit there slowly putting each block back in the bucket, with constant reminders to focus on the task as she gets distracted by other toys. And just like the toys, I probably could have made those cookies much faster while she was napping. Then, I could have ran them over to the neighbor when my husband got home from work. But the important thing is – I would have missed an opportunity.

An opportunity to be intentional, to involve her, and to explain the motives behind my actions. So I am trying to remind myself of this in regards to kindness. I don’t want to just go through the motions thinking my kids are too young to understand. At times they might be, but then again they might not. And at the very least, I am laying the foundation.

Since this revelation, I have made a conscious effort to explain to my daughter my actions when showing kindness.  Like when taking a meal to a mom who recently had a baby or just small acts of kindness in our everyday life that helps show love to those around me.  And you know what?  She is so excited every time. It makes my heart feel so full to see her delighting in showing kindness to others.

So next time you do something kind for a friend, neighbor, or stranger, take time to explain it to your little ones too – and watch their kindness grow!

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