“We rise by lifting others” – Robert Ingersoll
As a family, I want to be known for our kindness. Not because we have a reputation to uphold, but because it’s the one thing that really matters in this life. That being said, there is nothing like watching my 3 and 1.5 year old brawl to inspire a lesson on the subject. By 9am everybody was annoyed with each other and I had broken our house rule of “no yelling” twice so I decided we all needed to get out of the house and put some kindness into action. Taking inspiration from a photo in a great book a friend just gave us (“God’s Wisdom for Little Boys”) I had the idea to make some Fall goodies for our neighbors.
We hopped in the car and headed out on a mission of kindness and almost immediately the atmosphere changed. We spent the morning picking out pumpkins and buying baking supplies for pumpkin muffins… and although grocery stores are never easy with two toddlers, even my mood had dramatically shifted.
Once home I quickly realized that there is no way to bake neatly with small
kids boys, so I embraced the chaos. We turned up the music and had the best time wrecking the kitchen. Even Carson, my 1.5 year old had fun helping by putting the muffin liners in the muffin pan and “stirring” the batter (my future self will probably never assign him that job again). While the muffins baked I made “Happy Fall” tags for the pumpkins using some random supplies from our craft bin.
After the goodies were finished we sat down and reread the kindness rhyme in our book and briefly talked about why it’s important to be kind. My boys are still very young so I’m sure they don’t grasp the entirety of the concept but it’s never too early to start learning. And I’ve found that when you plan a day or event around a subject then continue to talk about it throughout the following days they really start to “get it”. I keep it very simple. Things like “Jesus tells us to be KIND. He is KIND to us always and we should always be KIND. We can make our neighbors smile by being KIND to them. KINDNESS is one way we can love people. Don’t you like it when people are KIND to you?” Then I’ll say some examples of KIND things to them and ask them how it made them feel.
Then off we went to deliver kindness!…
Our neighbors loved it. I mean… who wouldn’t love two delicious little babes in a wagon giving out pumpkins and muffins?? My favorite thing about it all was the opportunity it created for us to meet new neighbors and get to know some better. We ended up staying out longer than I expected simply because we were having fun getting to know so many people who were out and about. In fact, we actually ended up not having enough to give to all of the people we met so we whipped up a couple more batches and handed those out today :).
This attempt at encouraging my boys to be gentlemen instead of brawling hooligans reminded me just how important it is to put intentional effort into kindness. Especially on the days when nobody particularly feels like being nice. Making a decision to change our focus from ourselves to serving others is guaranteed to shift the atmosphere and attitudes. And seeing my boys learning to love through kindness may have been one of the proudest moments of my motherhood to date.