I told the kids that I would like our Family Focus to be love or kindness.
Chad and I organized a family retreat in January and in one of our mini sessions we attempted to identify our family’s values. I passed out a sheet with 40 values on it and everyone had to circle their top 10. We reported and recorded everyone’s choices. The only value that everyone picked was LOVE and 5/6 of us choose KINDNESS. And the only reason my husband didn’t choose kindness was because he thought it was basically the same thing as love and he wanted to stretch his 10 choices farther. (On an unsurprising note, Chad and I were the only two that circled work.)
My point is that I knew LOVE and KINDNESS were important to our family and February is the perfect month to focus on those two values. I told the kids they could choose the specific challenge to support our focus. My only suggestion was that we set a challenge this time where we do something instead of not do something.
We brainstormed for awhile and heard different ideas from the kids. Basically, they were all forms of “acts of kindness”. We first thought our challenge would be “daily random acts of kindness,” but we realized with our busy lives that the “random” part really needed to be “planned”. But then we also realized that we might get overwhelmed and stressed out and lose the spirit of the challenge if we had something planned e.v.e.r.y.d.a.y that we HAD to do. So in the end we decided to do a hybrid with some bigger, planned acts of kindness coupled with random, little acts of kindness.
About this time we arrived at grandma’s. We ate a yummy Chinese feast and played a game, both inspired by the Chinese New Year coming up. Later it started to snow so we headed home.
On the way back up the canyon we continued Family Council. We brainstormed different acts of kindness that we could do throughout the month. Some would take planning and effort and some would be spontaneous. Here are some of our ideas:
Heart attack someone’s door
Pay for someone’s food at a restaurant or in a drive-thru line
Leave valentine’s hearts on people’s windshields in a parking lot
Shovel the neighbors’ walks
Make cookies and deliver them
Play games with residents at an old folk’s home
Write thank you notes or love notes to family members or relatives
Let someone go in front of you in line
Hold the door for someone
Scrap windshields in a parking lot after a snowstorm
Host a widow’s Valentine brunch
Donate food to the food bank
Do a sibling’s chores
I suggested that we record or “count” our acts of kindness with conversation hearts. Each night before family prayer family members report on what kindnesses they did that day. For every act of kindness we put a heart in a glass vase. It is good for everyone to hear the different ways kindness can be manifest. And our daily reporting keeps the challenge in the forefront of our minds.
As the jar fills up, hopefully so will our hearts.
(Comment below if you have any other ‘kindness’ ideas for us. Thanks for your help!)