I believe I have mentioned that before exiting the phillips family station wagon to enter a public place, our little family of four has a pow-wow. We discuss the plan for said outing, behavior expected at said outing, and rules of said outing. Although this might sound like some sort of parental nightmare requiring one to schedule in twenty extra minutes per trip outside of the home, this little exchange really only takes about 30 seconds. Usually, it is Isaac and Evelyn providing the expectations when given a few prompts from me (such as, "What kind of behaviors are we not going to show in Target?" or "How is someone going to be a helper at ____'s house today?" and the ever-popular "Are we going to have just a tiny bit of fun or a WHOLE LOT O FUN today?").
This exchange usually ends with the reminder to "Be a kind friend."
Couldn't we all use such a reminder before exiting our cars?
Be a kind friend to the person who almost runs you over in the parking lot due to the fact they are texting and driving.
Be a kind friend to that grumpy co-worker.
Be a kind friend to your spouse after a long work day.
Be a kind friend to the frazzled young mother with two precocious children in her shopping cart (oh, wait..that one was backwards).
Kindness is talked about a lot around casa de phillips, mainly because we have a closely knit brother/sister duo living under our roof who greatly vacillate between being best buds and being each other's arch nemesis on a regular basis.
The bible story we chose to illustrate the characteristic of kindness was the story of Ruth and Naomi. (*) We discussed how kindness was shown between these two women and discussed how we can show kindness in our friendships as well.
Craft: For a craft, we pulled out some Martha Stewart craft kits I found on clearance at Wal-Mart. Each child made a puppet to give to a special friend to show kindness. (I, in turn, contemplated how I am not really showing kindness to the mother of these two friends who will now have just a bit more clutter in her home than she did before. Sorry.)
As an extension activity, we made kindness sticker charts for each child. When Isaac sees Evelyn showing kindness, he gives her a sticker for her chart and vice-versa. Although this got a bit out of hand at first with the two simply lavishing each other with stickers, some more "thoughtful" attention was given to the detail of showing kindness to one's sibling as the day progressed
I am keeping my fingers crossed that these sticker charts work for through their adolescent years.
(*) Ever wonder where Oprah got her name? Well, apparently she was named after Ruth's other daughter-in-law, Orpah. However, the name was misspelled on the birth certificate resulting in one of the most well-known names of our time. You are welcome for the piece of senseless trivia.