It is nearly Valentine’s Day, a time when many of us are thinking of our loved ones and finding some small ways to show them that we care. This is a good time for us as Orthodox Christian parents to model for our children how to show kindness to those we know and love.
While we’re at it, let us also take time to help our children to think about how we can show God’s love to those who we do not know! A random act of kindness is one way that we can show God’s love to others. This is Random Acts of Kindness Week, a week dedicated to finding ways to bless others without recognition or expectation of receiving anything in return. Let us talk together with our families and plan not just how to be kind to and bless those we know, but also those we do not know, as God in His infinite mercy has blessed us.
Here are a few ideas:
1. When shopping, pay for something for the next person in line (for example, pay the bill of the next person at the drive-through window when paying your own bill; buy a pack of gum for the family behind you at the grocery store and leave it for the clerk to deliver; pay in advance for a bagel or piece of bread for the next hungry person who comes into a bakery asking for a handout).
2. Write encouraging notes or scripture verses, and hide them for others to find. For example, make cards to leave in library books a la http://www.coffeecupsandcrayons.com/library-book-kindness-notes/.
3. Make the world more beautiful: clean up trash at a local playground or leave artwork for others to find, as in this stone painting project at http://colormekatie.blogspot.com/2011/11/mrblue.html.
4. Share with needy people. Collect food and donate it to hungry people; making the donation more fun by personalizing the food with a note or picture as suggested at http://curlybirds.typepad.com/curly-birds/2012/02/doing-good-encouragement-for-food-bank-recipients.html. Or put together small kits of basic items to give to the homeless as suggested at http://www.penniesoftime.blogspot.com/2013/04/penny-of-time-adventure-care-kit-for.html.
5. Purchase inexpensive toys, attach a friendly note, and allow your children to hand them out to other children, as suggested at http://www.momentsaday.com/teaching-children-to-think-of-others-a-simple-random-act-of-kindness/.
There are a myriad of Random Acts of Kindness ideas out there. There are even more ideas at http://www.mommysavers.com/c/t/202640/a-mommysavers-challenge-31-days-of-raksor http://www.eatsleepbe.com/2012/02/acts-of-kindness-for-kids/. Whichever project(s) we select, let us complete them with enthusiasm! May we help our children learn that there is much joy in extending kindness to others, as Christ has extended God’s kindness to us!