Christmas, oh Christmas! ‘Tis the season to be jolly! To offer presents of presence, slowing down with family to create everlasting memories and connections. While ideally inspiring gifts that go beyond the glistening wrapping paper strewn on the floor.
Yes, the essence of Christmas is family, friends and I’d like to think kindness – something that can change someone’s day, someone’s week and depending what it is, someone’s life! And who doesn’t want more of that in the world?
Kindness is immense, vibrant and really quite an easy, free gift to give for Christmas, or any time really. It’s also a great thing to teach our children!
A study in 2014 at Yale University and Boston College, found that ‘something as simple as asking children to reflect on their past good deeds has positive effects on their behaviour’, says Arber Tasimi, one of the researchers. The study concluded, ‘recalling one’s own positive behaviour — rather than positive behaviours more generally—boosts generosity in children.’
So what are we waiting for? Let’s boost our children’s lives by teaching them how to immerse themselves in that ‘feel-good-factor’ of kindness.
While revelling in your quality family time this season, I thought you may like to try out some of the suggested acts of kindness from my family, or perhaps come up with some of your own. We’d love to hear what they are and how you, or the receiving person felt too, so please feel free to share your experiences at the bottom of this article.
Ideas to inspire kindness
This list was inspired by my ten year old step-son, my partner and myself…
- Get in touch with a friend you haven’t spoken to for a long time
- Make breakfast for a family member –(yes please, I’d like mine tomorrow!)
- Write a note of thanks to someone that’s been good to you
- Give a toy, food or clothing to charity
- Chat with someone who you think may feel lonely
- Pick up rubbish in your community
- Compliment someone five times each day
- Write a kindness quote and give it to someone
- Take baking to a rest home
- Let someone in front of you in traffic
Inspired by children
I was inspired to write this article after meeting a group of uplifting, motivated students that are encouraging kindness within their school at Papakio, North Otago, New Zealand.
They’re currently, and lovingly, making and painting a ‘Buddy Bench’ to have in their school. A ‘Buddy Bench’ is a place where any child can sit if they’d like someone to play with – it’s enough to make the heart swell and bring a tear to the eye really. SO thoughtful, SO considerate and SO KIND!
This seed of an idea is growing for the children as they now work on ways to involve other schools and preschools across the country, along with families and individuals, because they would like their ‘budding seed of kindness’ to spread.
So if you’d like to join their list of interested parties, or know someone, or a school that would like to, please feel free to contact me with your details.
September 1st is New Zealand’s ‘Random Acts of Kindness Day’ but why wait, do a random act of kindness every day!
~ Philippa offers a professional development workshop for Early Childhood Educators called ‘Inspire Kindness – develop caring relationships.’ You can find out more here ~