Be the Good
There are millions of ways to spread goodness, but I have found the most practical way to spread goodness with children is simply to make the most of everyday opportunities! Such as, going to the grocery store. Last week, I went to the grocery store twice with multiple children. (I know you are wondering who on earth actually goes TO the store anymore, but most days I actually enjoy it!) Before we went inside, I asked my three year old how we could Be the Good!? I challenged him to smile at everyone he saw and if someone did something kind, to say thank you!
On both occasions, two different people we talked to became teary because of their interactions with the boys. For example, after telling the man how much they appreciated him taking our shopping cart back he responded, “I’m getting emotional. That was the kindest thing anyone has said to me today.”
It was my three year old and two year old who had done the talking, so you can imagine their way of showing appreciation was not profound, but they each looked him in the eye and their words were genuine. It truly doesn’t take much to be the good, but it does take intentionality.
We complied a Kid-Friendly Top 10 List of Ways to BE THE GOOD:
| 1. Smile at 10 people.
2. Say “hello” to 5 people by name.
3. Give a compliment to anyone. Start by saying, “I know something good about you…”
4. Let someone go in front of you in line!
5. While you are taking your trash…take someone else’s for them.
6. Draw a picture for someone in the military.
7. Feed the birds or squirrels in the winter.
8. Leave some heads up pennies on a walkway or sidewalk.
9. Do a chore for a sibling.
10. Take some treats to your local Fire Department or elderly neighbor.
For older children, consider a bigger project that taps into their own unique interests. Chip has been asking lots of questions about the crisis in Ukraine, so we visited Healing Hands International to find out how we could help! He loaded buckets in our car that we will be filling with needed items and returning at the end of the month.
See the Good
We don’t have a positive reinforcement activity every month, but when we do they are SO powerful! Not only does it make me LOOK for that specific character trait and CALL it out in my kids, but it also reminds the boys (without me having to say a word) about how they are growing and using our WOW Word! Surprisingly, I have also learned that after I have spent weeks calling character out in the boys, they start recognizing it in others and themselves. After watching someone make a good choice this weekend, Banks looked at me and said, “That was good fruit!”
It gave Coco and I so much joy to transform a small shiplap wall in our playroom into an at home bulletin board based on the following verse:
We used a roll of brown paper from our art table and crinkled it into the tree trunk and branch shapes we wanted. It really is very simple; the only tricky part is getting it to stay on the wall without using materials that will damage the wall! We found that attaching blue painters tape to the wall then hot gluing the brown paper to the tape works BEST. The other option is to make a smaller tree that painters tape alone will hold.
Coco created four different fruit patterns-lemon, apple, plum and orange and the boys each got to choose their fruit. Each night before bed, I remind them of the ‘good fruit’ I have seen them bear that day as they add a piece of fruit to the tree. These things may be small such as Justice letting Whit play with his new toy all day or Chip taking his dinner plate to the sink without me asking. Or it may be reminding them of the goodness they shared at the grocery store when they smiled or said thank you. The goal is simply to remind children of the goodness you have seen in them!
At the end of the month, we will reflect on how different our tree looks with so much beautiful fruit and compare it to what it looked like at the beginning, without any fruit. It is my prayer that the boys will discover that goodness is more than following the rules, it’s mostly about sharing goodness with others!