Warming the Heart | The Source Weekly
In a world that often feels hate-filled and adversarial, there is now a greater need than ever for infectious kindness and compassion. The best place to start growing kindness is with our kids.
Every parent wants to raise a thoughtful child, but outside of talking to them about kindness and modeling behaviors in their presence, you might find yourself wondering how you might ensure that your sweet child grows into a compassionate adult.
February 17 is National Random Acts of Kindness Day, which presents parents everywhere with an opportunity to talk to their children about being generous (without being asked) while demonstrating how easy it is to change someone’s entire day with one, small, unexpected act of kindness.
Bonus: Your actions have a ripple effect! A study out of Stanford found that kindness is contagious. Additional studies have found that kindness comes with all sorts of benefits, including lowering stress and improving heart health.
In preparation for National Random Acts of Kindness Day, sit down with your kids and come up with a list of random acts of kindness you can carry out on February 17 and beyond. At the end of the holiday, check off your successes and make a list of the ones that you can easily integrate into your daily, weekly and monthly lives.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Pay it forward with a cup o’ joe
Start your day with one of the most popular acts by paying for the coffee of the person behind you in the drive-through.
2. Donate books to a free little library in your neighborhood
Have your children go through their old books and walk them over to one of these kiosks. (If you aren’t sure where to find one, go to the Bend OR Little Libraries Facebook page).
3. Return a grocery cart
Grab someone’s grocery cart on your way into the store and save them a trip.
4. Compliments are free
Say something nice to someone you know or even to a stranger walking by and watch that smile spread!
5. Text your love
Send a sweet text to a friend or family member just because.
6. Use social media for the good
It’s hard to resist posting memes that declare your disgust for those with different views, but change things up and use your social media to remind folks that they are loved and worthy of all good things. Show your kiddos that being kind to people you don’t necessarily jive with is just as important as being kind to the people you dig.
7. Reflect love
Write a message of self-love on the bathroom mirror with a dry-erase marker. Remind your family that kindness is a gift we can give ourselves.
8. Lunchbox Love
Leave love notes in your child’s lunch box for a mid-day boost.
9. Be kind to the environment
Go on a walk with your kids and pick up trash. Better yet, pick up at least one piece of trash wherever you go.
10. Let someone cut
Let someone who is in a rush or
who has fewer items in their cart go ahead of you in the grocery store checkout line.
11. Shoulder an extra load
Encourage your children to help a friend by carrying their school bag for them. You can model this by helping a peer or elderly person get their groceries or some other heavy load to their car.
12. Get trashy
Take your neighbor’s garbage can to the curb or bring it in for them after it has been emptied.
13. Tidy up
Do one of your family members’ chores for them without being asked.
No, really. Listen. When someone needs to talk, put the phone away, and give them your ear and your shoulder to cry on, if needed.
Central Oregon has a host of nonprofit organizations that need volunteers throughout the year (not just during the holidays). Sit down with your kids and list some that interest them. Your young pet lover might want to volunteer at the Humane Society, while your outdoor enthusiast might feel moved to help maintain trails.