As my daughter sat across from me in the booth at Denny's, she tried to figure out which smiley face pancake to order. I barely took ten seconds deciding to pick the western omelet with wheat toast.
After the waitress took our order, we talked about our day to each other as we both worked out the puzzles and games on the paper kids menu. Lyric loves to ask about my day, and I always have ways to get her to tell me about hers. See that post here
I face the entrance to the restaurant, especially when I have my daughter. Don't ask...It's a mental disease called "I'm going to be prepared if anything bad happens" and there's no cure apparently.
The door opens and I glance upward. The man was alone, he didn't break a smile though the crew seemed to know him as a regular. "He was in World War II", I whispered to Lyric. "How do you know?" she responded with a curiosity and intrigue. She has such a great respect for military for a child her age, though her Papa was a Vietnam Veteran.
The man wore a hat I had seen before, though usually embroidered as Vietnam or Korean War. I haven't seen many WWII Veteran caps. The man sat wear we could see him. I notices that he didn't have anything to read, had no one with him, and thought he must be lonely. I felt a little sorry for him though realized he may enjoy dining alone.
I explained to Lyric what WWII was and what is must have been like for anyone in that war, or any for that matter. She continued to glance over at him; he couldn't see her. "He is a real hero", she told me. I agreed with her.
We enjoyed the rest of our delicious breakfast for dinner and walked to the cashier to check out. I asked the cashier, who was also a waitress there, if the Veteran had already ordered food. I nodded my head in the direction of the man. When she confirmed that he had, I asked her to add his meal to my ticket. Lyric quickly looked up at me and gasped with a big smile. I ignored her excitement so not to make a scene. The woman gladly added the man's meal and said "that is very kind of you".
We left Denny's and got into our car, where Lyric proceed to tell me what a nice thing that was. She bragged about it to Nana and Papa when we visited them that evening. I could feel the pride in her voice when she mentions how we paid for his meal....followed by me reminding her never to brag about doing a good thing.
I might not do everything right, but today I taught my child a great lesson in kindness.
One of my main parenting goals is to raise a kind child. Just one. If just one is kind, I've done something right. Just kidding, I only have one. I want them to learn to be kind to not only their family and friends but everyone who they meet.
It’s a tough thing teach, but not impossible.
3 Habits to Start today
1. Model Kindness- Children learn by modeling the behaviors of the people around them. When my daughter was 3 we were getting ready for a garage sale. We were looking at all of the items and I said "I guess I better start putting prices on this stuff." Lyrics immediate response was "Are you freaking kidding me?" I knew then that I don't always have a positive attitude because she definitely learned that from her mom. I've tried to blame Elmo, but no one would believe it.
Kids learn what to do and say from their parents; and those around them the most.
Social Learning has so much to do with what/who a child becomes. So if we want our kids to learn kindness, we need to be modeling kindness.
Your kids are watching and will do what you do. So try to find ways to be kind to the people around you.
2. Be Kind To Your Kids - Have you ever been on the receiving end of kindness? Feels pretty good huh? Knowing how that makes us feel, causes us to want to be kind to others. Try to do nice things for your kids, for no reason at all. This doesn't mean take them to the movies or buy them a new toy. I mean sharing that brownie batter (seriously my biggest challenge), put your phone away for the evening and ask them to play board games with you, let them choose what you cook for supper, do one of their chores for them (if they haven't been a total turd that week).
Throughout your days together with your kids, remember to say kind things about people. Try not to say hateful things when someone at work aggravated you. Use kind words.
3. Commend them when they are kind- “Oh that was very kind of you!” will let them know that they did a good job. This will be that reinforcement they want to keep getting. It is our job to teach our kids how to be towards one another. They don't just come out knowing these things.
Yes I know, I just told you that they will learn through you modeling the positive behavior, but praising and giving them your approval for their kind actions or words will help them to learn fast.
If they share a toy with their brother: “That was really kind of you to share your things!” If they hold the door open for strangers at a store: “That’s really kind of you ”. Every day, I find ways to praise kindness.
It is natural for children to desire their parent’s attention and want to make them proud. So commending their behaviors causes them to be proud of themselves and they will most likely continue to be kind children.
I hope these steps help you! Please tell me your ideas now! What are some things you do to help teach your children to be kind?
Just a girl trying not to suck at life and attempting to help other moms.
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