Thursday, 1 December 2016

The Gift of Kindness this Christmas.

There are many reasons I love Christmas - getting quality time with family, eating lots of great food, being treated to something nice. But one of the biggest reasons I love it, is because it offers the opportunity to bring the best out in people. It reminds us of the love of Christ and his example of kindness. 

Each year we love thinking about the traditions we would like to establish as a family. This year, I really wanted to try and prioritise the importance of kindness and giving with the children. As I was looking for ideas, I came across The Kindness Elves, started by a wonderful Mummy blogger from The Imagination Tree who wanted to find an alternative to the 'Elf on a Shelf' by focusing on positive, character building activities. Since she started it 3 years ago, it has become a worldwide hit. 

The elves help inspire the children to take part in kind acts they can do in the lead up to Christmas.

Here are our Kindness Elves' first challenge to the children this week - 

When the children first met the Elves on the 1st of December, the letter from them set a challenge to come up with a list of kind things they might be able to do. I will use their ideas along with a few of my own to inspire the kindness challenges the elves set each day. For example - sit next to someone who is alone at lunch, help your brother/sister tidy their room, write a thank you letter to the postman/binman, make and deliver cookies to the neighbours, donate some children's books to the doctor's waiting room. 

I loved this idea so much, that I have bought another mini set of Elves I found in a local shop to take to my reception children at school too. We will do a very similar thing in class where the elves will be challenging the children to do kind deeds in school and at home. 

Here are our class Kindness Elves:

There are lots of great ideas from others who have used kindness elves in the classroom, for more inspiration, see  HERE 

Kindness is not always something that comes naturally to children (or adults in some cases). It is something that they need to see modelled. If we want our children to be kind, we first need to show them how. The following videos are ones that I will be sharing with the children to help inspire them.

Did you know...?

'The positive effects of kindness are experienced in the brain of everyone who witnessed the act, improving their mood and making them significantly more likely to “pay it forward.” This means one good deed in a crowded area can create a domino effect and improve the day of dozens of people!'

Talking of 'paying it forward', I must watch the film Pay it Forward again. It is a powerful film about a child's beautiful idea to change the world one kind deed at a time. 

If you haven't already seen it, please do (it's only a few pounds on amazon)

Image result for pay it forward dvd

For more inspiration on small acts of kindness have a look at this website- Random Acts of Kindness.

Or, for some simple truths about what kindness can do for a person, have a little read of this Random Acts of Kindness - The Facts 

There was a story my mother used to read to us as children at Christmas time. It was about Monday's child who was going to see the new child Jesus. Along the way he met Tuesday's child who was busy doing chores but wanted to go to see the new baby with him. So Monday's child stayed a while with Tuesday's child until all the jobs were done. Then they set off again together where they meet Wednesday's child who is busy, again Monday's child helps her to finish all the work. This continues through the week day children until they finally reach the child Jesus. Each child gives Jesus a gift, except Monday, who is sad and does not go in to see him. When Jesus asks why he is sad, he replies that he has no gift, he has forgotten it. Jesus replies - but you have, you stopped to help each child along the way, this was your gift to me.

Image result for monday's child travelling to see jesus book illustration

It's message was simple and beautiful. Kindness is at the heart of Christmas. 

Light the world, one kind deed at a time.