Friday, September 28, 2012

Kindness routine

Traadition!!! Tradition! As I thought about this post and be warned I am kinda in a odd mood today. I thought of Fiddler On The Roof, tell my you didn't!?  So you guessed it this post is about tradition... and routine.

 Routines can be hard to get into but when we do life seems to run a lot smoother. Not everything about life has to be routine of course there always needs to be room for spontaneity. I have thought about this a lot this week and have done parts of a kindness routine for a while with my daughter I just want to add to it. I also want there to be a tradition of kindness and service in our family and I believe this is one way to start that. As you read about what we are doing think about your day and where you can fit in a few minutes here and there for this. Here is what it looks like for us...

On our drive to the bus stop. I talk to her about finding ways to help or do something kind for someone else. I try and give her a few ideas and ask her to brainstorm and think of at least one way she can do something for someone else in her day.

When we get out of the van to let her on the bus I remind her again. By saying something like "remember to try and find something nice you can do for someone else." ( I asked her to let me take a pic and she could hear the bus and got all nervous)

When I pick her up from school we have a 12 minute ride home. This is a great time to ask her about her day and what she did for someone else. I think it's super important to try and connect with your kids while they are young and get them talking to you about their day. Try asking questions they can't just say "yes" for "no" to. Like "what was the best part of your day?" Or "What made you sad today?" "Who were you able to help today?" etc etc. I would LOVE for you to share any ideas here, getting kids to open up about their day can be tough. Though I seem to be making progress this year, yea :)

The last step in the routine is to chat about it again at dinner time with the whole family. This is the part I have yet to do but am going to start doing. Dinner is also super great for family connectedness a great tradition in and of itself. I am also going to make a kindness jar though I am going to involve the kids in naming it and decorating it. The more input they have in this routine the more successful it is likely to be so call it whatever you like kindness jar, warm fuzzies jar etc. Their good deeds can be written down and put in a fun jar or little fuzzies or whatever suites your fancy Dinner time is when we will add to our jar. Would love to see what you come up with, if you do this I REALLY want to see it so upload a pic to The SIP project Face Book page and then I can share it. (This post is super long so I am going to pin jar ideas onto The SIP project board I have on Pinterest and put links to them on The SIP project Face Book page) I think it would be fun to to have a special family day somewhere the kids love to go when the jar gets filled. You could also do a sticker chart instead of a jar if you kids are more into stickers. Be creative and have fun with it!

I tried to find a picture of a family having a food fight or things just a little chaotic at dinner but came up empty on that front but I did find these and had to share...
Food fight...da dun dun shpun!

Here is my theory with this routine I am not nagging or getting upset when she comes home and tells me she didn't help anyone that day it doesn't mean it's fruitless! We sow the seeds and nurture them and we don't always see the fruits of our labors immediately, I can't think of an instance where I have anyway. I do know that starting these traditions will be a blessing to my family especially as my children get older. Oh...and I imagine at some point my kids will start asking me what I did which will motivate me to look beyond myself more often too a win win.

Here is my other thought. My dad is a mechanic and his world was all about cars while I was growing up. Anywhere we went with him as we drove around he would talk about makes and models that were driving near us and tid bits of info about them. I never thought about it growing up that was just life, I just listened but I noticed that I ended paying attention to cars. Friends would have no clue what car their parents or anyone else for that matter was driving and I would be like's a '99 Honda Civic how could you not know or notice that! It hasn't changed I still do it to this day.  My point is that as we routinely bring up "hey, did you do something nice for someone else today?" and talk about what they did it will become ingrained in them and at some point you won't need to say anything it will just be who they are...IF you consistently do it.

I have thought about this story countless times over the 3 years since I heard it and is what inspired this whole routine, I was really struck by the simplicity of it...

"A few years ago I read an article written by Jack McConnell, MD. He grew up in the hills of southwest Virginia in the United States as one of seven children of a Methodist minister and a stay-at-home mother. Their circumstances were very humble. He recounted that during his childhood, every day as the family sat around the dinner table, his father would ask each one in turn, “And what did you do for someone today?” 1 The children were determined to do a good turn every day so they could report to their father that they had helped someone. Dr. McConnell calls this exercise his father’s most valuable legacy, for that expectation and those words inspired him and his siblings to help others throughout their lives. As they grew and matured, their motivation for providing service changed to an inner desire to help others.
Besides Dr. McConnell’s distinguished medical career—where he directed the development of the tuberculosis tine test, participated in the early development of the polio vaccine, supervised the development of Tylenol, and was instrumental in developing the magnetic resonance imaging procedure, or MRI—he created an organization he calls Volunteers in Medicine, which gives retired medical personnel a chance to volunteer at free clinics serving the working uninsured. Dr. McConnell said his leisure time since he retired has “evaporated into 60-hour weeks of unpaid work, but [his] energy level has increased and there is a satisfaction in [his] life that wasn’t there before.” He made this statement: “In one of those paradoxes of life, I have benefited more from Volunteers in Medicine than my patients have.” 2 There are now over 70 such clinics across the United States.
Of course, we can’t all be Dr. McConnells, establishing medical clinics to help the poor; however, the needs of others are ever present, and each of us can do something to help someone." 

Read the full excerpt here.

Do you have any traditions of kindness in your family? I would love to hear about them!
If you have a Pin board on kindness or a similar topic let me know I would love to follow you.


  1. I love this idea too. We don't have anything specific yet, but it does come up with AWANA assignments, etc. I hope to incorporate it soon - i.e. when my kids see more than just the 5 us of in our family almost every day. Not that we can't help each other, but that I think it will be more meaningful to the kids when they are doing something above what is already expected...

  2. Warm Fuzzies jar!!!!! LOVE IT!!!!!!!!

  3. Thanks for the good ideas. My son is still pretty young, but I want to start talking to him about doing things for others too.

  4. I used a warm fuzzies jar for my primary kids and it works fantastically! Every morning, Cash and I talk about being a good example and to look for one kid that seems sad or lonely, whether he knows them or not, and try to cheer him/her up and make a friend. He hasn't done it yet, but he'll tell me the other kind things he's done during the day. Even his teacher tells me he looks for ways to help the other kids. He probably has cheered up a kid and not even known it. If it's just habit to be a nice person, scattering sunshine is second nature. We're going to a jar for our family. Dodge needs a little encouragement to be nice to others, so maybe this will be it!

  5. When we moved to Portal we were the only kids in town...the last kids had grown up quite a few years ago (weird...I know). Halloween came up and we wanted to go trick-or-treating but Mom explained that the town wasn't used to trick-or-treaters as there hadn't been kids for a few years. So we decided on something that ended up being a bit of a tradition. We baked bread and cinnamon rolls, got dressed in our costumes and we picked 4 or 5 houses to stop and reverse trick-or-treat. We had many confused looks at first, but they all turned into smiles. Our family had not been well accepted into the area and this act of kindness helped to soften hearts. It was fun each year after to pick the goodies to make and the houses we were going to stop at.


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