How do you teach your kids to do good deeds? I guess you should probably start by deciding what it is you consider a good deed. For our family, it isn’t that complicated. I expect our kids to display kindness to each other and to others. That is basic stuff they can understand at any age and that can grow with them in complexity as they are ready. Today, it might be not pulling your sister’s pigtails. Ten years from today, it might be volunteering at a soup kitchen. An action brought about by kindness and love would be my definition of a good deed.
Now that you’ve identified what you consider a good deed to be (and you don’t have to agree with my definition by any means, but for the purposes of this post, we’ll assume you do), you have to decide how to teach to you children what you know of the subject. In this case, I need to teach my children about kindness and love. Lucky for me, I’ve been teaching my kids about both of these things all of their lives. The first moment I held each child in my arms after they were born (even arguably sooner), I began teaching them what I know about love. With every boo boo that needed a kiss and every wounded feeling I had a kind word for, I’ve taught them about kindness. I’m willing to bet your kids know a lot about both of these things from you as well.
Point out good deeds that yourself or others perform. Kids learn best through imitation. If they see you hold open a door for an elderly person, when they are able it is likely they will do the same. Let them see video spotlights on a great deed someone did, or let them read an article. Expose your kids to books where someone chooses to do something kind for someone else. Ask them how they think different characters feel at intervals throughout the book. Teach manners (so few people use them these days!), respect, how to take the high road in a disagreement, and remember the Golden Rule: treat others the way you would like to be treated.
The final step is performing the good deeds themselves. I believe that if you’ve prepped your kids, they will take the steps without further measures. If you would still like to nudge them a bit, help them brainstorm ideas for good deeds they could do for family, friends, animals, and the community at large. Listen for what they sound passionate about, and encourage those deeds. And don’t forget to take them along on any volunteering you do when appropriate.
Do you agree with my definition of a good deed, or do you have one of your own? Comment and let me know!
That’s it for me this week, folks! Thanks for reading.
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