From time to time, I see entitlement begin to take over my household. When the kids take on a self-centered mindset, and gratitude becomes lacking, I know that it is time to take the focus off of ourselves and place it onto others. Cultivating kindness is something that has always been important to me. I want to teach my children to look for ways to serve others. I want them to learn that each kind gesture truly makes a difference. I want them to see firsthand how they can light up the world with kindness.
An Activity to Encourage Kindness
We recently finished up a month dedicated to kindness. Almost every day, the kids were tasked with kindness deeds and became excited each morning to see what deed I had in store for them. At the start of the month, I presented the kids with a globe. I shared with them that at the end of the month they would each be drilling holes into the globe to represent their kind acts. I let them know that after the holes were drilled I was going to do something incredible with the globe. They were eager to find out more. For 30 days, we served others. We fed the homeless, brought treats to the firestation, taped quarters to candy machines, sent handmade letters in the mail to friends and much more.
It was then time to drill our holes into the globe, each one representing an act of kindness. The kids had so much fun picking spots on the globe and they were even more delighted when my husband and I then inserted small lights into the globe. The glow of the lights poured out of each hole as a symbol of how one kind deed can light up the world. We now keep the globe on display as a reminder to love and serve others.
We Can All Light Up The World
If you are looking for ways to serve others in our community and beyond, I have put together a list of some of our favorites, locally and globally. I have also included some random acts of kindness.
Let’s light up the world!
- Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Colorado – Have a day of baking with your family and bless the Ronald McDonald House with plates of baked goods that they can share with their guests. Along with baked goods, you can also drop off meals or schedule a time to cook in their kitchens. They also keep a current wish list of household items if your family would like to do a little shopping for the Ronald McDonald House.
- Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region – Your kids can make a difference and brighten an animals’ day by shopping for items on the Humane’s Society animal care wish list.
- Project Angel Heart – This wonderful organization prepares and delivers meals to our neighbors living with life-threatening illnesses. By decorating meal delivery bags, your family can bring these folks a little cheer.
- More Than A Meal – Your family can join this mobile mission on Saturday mornings and help serve breakfast to our community’s homeless.
- Springs Rescue Mission – There are many ways you can give to the Spring Rescue Mission. You can donate food and other items to support their mission or sign your family up as a group and give of your time.
- Sophia’s Care Packages – Sophia is a 12-year-old Springs resident who collects items to create care packages which she distributes to the homeless. Your family can support her cause by donating care kit items or by purchasing her homemade stress balls. All proceeds go to her care packages.
- Stuffed Animals for Emergencies – Your family can donate new or gently used stuffed animals, children’s books or blankets to the Colorado Springs chapter. These items are passed along to fire stations, police departments, EMT and other organizations to hand out to kids to comfort them during scary times.
- Project Linus – This is a great weekend project. Get your family together and make no-sew fleece blankets to donate to Project Linus, a non-profit organization that donates homemade blankets to children in need.
- Operation Christmas Child – Spread cheer to kids around the globe. You can start making shoeboxes now to turn in during national collection week, November 13 – 20.
- Color A Smile – Send artwork to this delightful organization that sends your colorful masterpieces to senior citizens and troops overseas.
- Alex’s Lemonade Stand – Set up a lemonade stand to raise money for childhood cancer research.
- Project Night Night – Purchase a Project Night Night tote and fill it with a new blanket, book and stuffed animal. The organization will pass it along to a homeless child.
Random Acts of Kindness
- Deliver donuts to your local police or fire station.
- Tape quarters to gumball and vending machines at your local grocery store.
- When returning a Red Box disc, include a couple of dollars and a note that says, “Snacks are on us.”
- Pass out hot chocolate to your school crossing guards on cold winter mornings.
- Bring handmade cards to a retirement home.
- Contact your local nursing homes to see if they will allow your family to visit and play board games with the residents.
- Make bookmarks and leave them in your library books as a fun surprise.
- Dish up plates of holiday meal leftovers and pass them out to the homeless in your community. We do this every Thanksgiving.
- Have your kids mail out letters to their friends.
- Take a walk downtown and add coins to the parking meters.
- Pay for someone’s meal at a restaurant.
- Buy a dozen flowers and pass them out to random people.
- Purchase a gift card at a store and give it to the person in line behind you.
- Our contributor, Kristal K, has a great roundup of ideas for encouraging kindness in our children.
- The book Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, by author and blogger Kristen Welch, is a treasure trove of suggestions for cultivating a spirit of gratitude in your home.
We’d love to hear how you and your family give back. Comment below with the organizations that you support. What other ways do you spread kindness as a family?