Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Teaching Kindness

What have you done to make a difference to someone today?

That's our new goal.  And it's working.  Let me explain.

I have grown tired of the mean girl crap, the sisterly bickering, the constant "you are (insert insult) !"  I'm tired of it all.  Yelling back didn't work.  Asking them to re-evaluate how they speak to each other didn't work.  Grounding didn't work.  The nastiness continued.  It happens at both my house and their dad's.  We're both tired of it.

Then I was watching the end of the Ellen Degeneres Show.  Yeah, I admit I like Sophia Grace and Rosie.  I can't help it.  Anyway, I digress.  At the end of her show, Ellen says something along the lines of "be nice to people".  That got me thinking.

So I told my girls that from now on, on a daily basis, they are to do something that makes a positive difference to someone.  It's working.  A wonderful transformation is occurring.  Sure, they still bicker and argue.  My kids are normal.  But when I pick them up from school, A will always volunteer the nice deed she did.  Sometimes it's something simple like holding a door open for a teacher whose hands are full or making the lunch lady laugh.  Sometimes it's something more - like standing up for a disabled kid who is getting teased or helping a kindergarten kid with whatever it is they need.  She's proud to tell me what she did - and never fails to ask me what I've done to make a difference in the world.

M isn't so quick to tell me things, which is a little odd to me because she has always been the kid to help everyone.  I don't think she wants to be the only one without a good deed so she makes an effort to do something.  She seemed slightly disappointed that she couldn't double up - do two or three good things on one day and nothing for the next.  Still, she does it.

This has had some wonderful effects.  First, they're proud of their helpful behavior.  Second, they're aware of people around them who need help - the little "me" bubble they lived in has, at least temporarily, burst.  And they make me think about what I do.  We're all now accountable and report in to each other - even on days we don't see each other.

Win-win-win.  Can't beat that.

1 comment:

  1. oh boyie. i have a long way to go with my kids!