Follow Michelle Obama’s Advice – “When They Go Low, We Go High”
This recent election has put our country in turmoil. Never in my life have I seen such a split in political opinions and what is best for the nation. One thing that keeps me moving forward and reminds me of what’s important is my kids. I don’t want my kids to grow up in a world of racism and hate. I don’t want those views to infiltrate our lives.
Regardless of what is happening outside the walls of my family’s home, I can define what is important to our family and help make our piece of the world a better place. I’m not one to wallow in sadness and I face challenges by rolling up my sleeves and digging in.
These next four years will be no different. Regardless of what is happening on the national and international fronts, I still have influence on my children. A fellow parent told me that her 7 year old daughter told her, “at least the president is not the boss of us at home, mom.” I’m taking her advice. My home is still in my control. What I teach my children and who we surround ourselves with is within our control.
Use Kindness To Create Peace
I have seen a movement among many of my friends and neighbors to be extra kind to others since the election. To show that hate and fear don’t win. I try to teach my kids how fortunate they are to live in the United States and have two parents who love them unconditionally and provide everything they need. Not every child has those luxuries.
We participate in opportunities to give during the holiday season. We make boxes for Operation Christmas Child and donate toys to Toys for Tots. We also participate in Random Acts of Kindness week at his school. I am now committed to practicing acts of kindness throughout the year.
I want my kids to see us go high, even though we feel low. I hope that our new president will surprise us and find a way to unite the country. However, even if he doesn’t, I will not allow the principals he ran on to enter my home. My community. My children’s world.
Small Acts of Kindness Kids Can Do
These kindness acts are things your kids can do in and out of their community, without much help. Two years ago, my son’s school read a book about filling people’s bucket. The basic premise was, when you do something nice for someone, you fill their bucket. When you do something mean to someone, you are taking from their bucket. The goal, obviously, is to fill people’s bucket with kindness.
If your kids are younger, you can create a visual bucket to help them understand. Draw a bucket and put a sticker in the bucket every time they do a kind act. These acts can be at home. Kindness starts at home.
- Be kind to a sister or brother or do something nice for a sibling.
- Be kind to a neighbor. Greet a neighbor, leave them a note or do something nice for them (pick up trash in their yard, water their flowers, leave them flowers).
- Be kind to a friend at school. Last week, my son’s friend gave him an envelope in the morning. I was curious to see what it was when he got home. His sweet friend wrote a note telling him that he had an extra Pokemon card that he knew my son didn’t have so he wanted to give it to him. My heart melted.
- Be kind to a kid at school who doesn’t have friends or is different from them. They can invite a child they don’t normally play with to join them or sit with someone different at lunch.
- Be kind to a teacher. I have seen children at my son’s school bring a teacher coffee or flowers. Their teachers literally light up.
- Be kind to a substitute. This is a bigger challenge for older kids. It seems to be the cool thing to be difficult when you have a substitute teacher.
- Be kind to staff at school. Our school has one custodian for 530 children. He works so hard and gets little recognition. It makes his day when kids do something nice for him. My son and his friends made Christmas cards for him last year and it truly made his day.
Simple Acts of Kindness To Do For Others
If you want to join my family in spreading kindness, here are some simple acts you can do with your family that don’t cost much money.
In Your Community:
- Take your old magazines, books and newspaper coupons to your local senior center. Many of them can’t afford these luxuries but could use the entertainment or savings from coupons.
- Take old toys or children’s books to your local children’s hospital or homeless shelter to pass on to other children.
- Hold a bake sale, lemonade or hot chocolate stand to raise money for your favorite charity or to support your local school.
- Donate toys to a homeless shelter or low income daycare center or preschool. Teach your children that there are many others who don’t have the luxury of a house full of toys.
- Donate food to food banks or people in need in your community. Our school district has a “Backpack for Kids” program where low income students are given a backpack of food every Friday to help their family get through the weekend. The program is anonymous and only the office staff knows who receives backpacks. Is there something similar you can start at your children’s school?
- Teach your children to accept and appreciate differences in others. Speak openly about differences and share with them that while people may not look the same on the outside, or do things the same way we do, we are all people who deserve respect.
- Travel with snacks to share with homeless people. I once saw someone on Pinterest created Blessing Bags for homeless people in her community. The bags had snacks, toothbrushes, soap and other necessities. It can get expensive to make up a bunch of bags, even if you shop at the Dollar Store, so I keep a few granola bars in my glove box to give to homeless people on the road. It also works in a pinch if my kids are hungry.
- Treat elderly neighbors with kindness. We have several people in our building who don’t have family nearby. They really enjoy seeing my kids. Whenever we bake, we try to share a little treat with them.
Kindness Outside Your Community:
If you want to spread kindness outside your own community, here are a few things you can do with your children.
- Make cards for military personnel serving abroad.
- Donate to national or international organizations that match your values.
- Support an organization that aides one of the groups marginalized in the election.
Kindness starts at home. By teaching our children to treat others with respect, kindness and compassion, regardless of appearance or beliefs, we can instill change in future generations.
Books That Teach Kindness
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