One of the most popular books on our children’s bookshelves isn’t one that’s about cars or fairies. It’s not filled with mystery or intrigue. There are no dinosaurs or wizards. Instead, it’s a book about kindness.
Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud is perched in a special spot on the shelf in all its well-loved, tattered-page glory. It’s a book that talks about how your actions influence the lives of others and how even a little kindness can go a long way. Just like our printable kindness cards, this book sends the right message.
Naturally, after reading the book about 9 million times, we have had some great conversations about how we can demonstrate kindness to strangers and within our own family. I hesitate to say that a book has changed the way we interact with the world, but it has definitely changed our perspective on a lot of things and made the idea of kindness key in our interactions. Since it’s been a family affair, we’ve tried many different random acts of kindness. I’ve also learned to listen to the kids’ intuition and honor their ideas for kind acts too. It’s been validating for them and has led to some beautiful moments.
Here are a few random acts of kindness that we’ve done as a family that might also work for yours.
- A Note of Thanks
Showing appreciation and gratitude is so important. We’ve left notes of thanks for neighbors who’ve helped with lawn work, for the mail carrier, and even for the Amazon delivery guy – we see him A LOT. What’s even better is that the kids have left notes for us and we’ve left notes for them. Saying thank you takes no time at all, but it sure does make others feel good.
Finding places to volunteer as a family can be a bit tricky – especially if your children are young. Look for opportunities at places that speak to the things your family enjoys. If you’re an outdoorsy kind of family, look on local park websites to see if they have a clean-up day or other volunteer event. If your family loves cats, collect litter and food for a charity that rescues them.
Have you ever noticed that when you smile at someone they usually smile back? This is especially true when the kids smile at people. So, we make it a habit to give our smiles freely and happily to people we meet while we’re out. Inevitably, they smile back.
- Let Others Go First
Letting others go ahead of us in line is a great way to model kindness for the kids. If we have a cart full of groceries and the person in line behind us has only a few things, we always let them go ahead of us. Not only is it a kind thing to do that makes the other person’s day, it’s really just the way to behave. We’re all in this thing called life together, so if we can make it a little easier for someone else we should.
- Pay It Forward
I’ll admit it, I love to pay it forward by paying for the car behind me at the drive-thru. When the kids are in the car with me it’s especially fun, but even when I’m by myself, I try to buy the person behind me a cup of coffee. It’s fun and it always puts a smile on the person taking the money too. Kindness is infectious.
I oftentimes think that while we’re doing random acts of kindness for others, we’re really the ones who are benefitting. There’s a lot of joy in giving. I hope your family gets to experience the fun of it too.