Friday’s Free Advice: “The Best Summer Ever” Challenge.
Last month, on Mother’s Day, our church was invited to participate in a “Random Acts of Kindness” challenge. Square, orange touch cards with “Smile! You’ve Just Been Tagged! – Do something nice for someone. Leave this card behind and extend God’s love again!” were handed out, and left in strategic areas of the church for attendees to pick up and take home. We were encouraged to find subtle ways to reach out to our community by doing random acts of kindness for strangers, and leaving the card behind.
I love this for so many reasons, the first being that the color of the card is ORANGE! I do love me some orange…bright, summery, happy and fun. How can you resist?
I am also a big fan of random acts of kindness. Not too long ago I posted a challenge of my own. Doing something for someone just for the sake of doing it, to me, is one of the most powerful statements of unconditional love.
Last night we had a family meeting around the dinner table. At the top of the agenda (the only thing on the agenda) was brainstorming ways to make this the “best summer ever”. We’re calling it “The Best Summer Ever” challenge. The kids threw out all kinds of ideas of what they thought would make their summer super awesome and fun. The wild and enthusiastic stream of creativity that flowed from three little minds was impressive and enlightening. Everything from swimming, to beach days, to trips to the zoo, to playing and reading – they were on a roll.
After the brainstorm dust settled, I affirmed their ideas. I acknowledged that those things would most certainly make this the “best summer ever”. I went on to pose a question: if Mommy and Daddy are taking them to the pool, to the zoo, to the beach…etc., how are they, then, going to make this the best summer ever for us?
The first word out of, none other than, my three-year-old wild man’s mouth was, “Kindness!” Oh…I have taught them well! My heart flipped! The girls chimed in, “Be kind! Be kind!”
We chatted about what it means to be kind. Kindness is: showing love, sharing toys, smiling, playing sweetly, listening to Mommy and Daddy. Good answers. We also had to cover what kindness is not: screaming, scratching, pushing, whining, and leaving a mess on the floor when they are done playing with their toys.
We talked about the fruit of the Spirit (and to be completely honest, by this point in the family meeting Sydney was about the only attentive mind at the table. Jackson and Brooklyn had checked out somewhere around, “picking up your toys…” We’re working on it.)
Kindness is a big deal in our home, and I think I walked away from our meeting with a sense of accomplishment in one way: my kids know the value of kindness. Jackson and Brooklyn have witnessed mommy buying coffee anonymously for another person and leaving the bright, happy, orange card behind. They think it’s awesome. While I can’t guarantee that we’ll sail smoothly through our summer on the kindness wave, at least I know they are aware of the power of kindness.
So, as Joel and I are challenging our kids, and ourselves, to make this the best summer ever by being kind, I am going to do the same for you! Be random! Be kind! Step out, reach out and be sunlight to your world! Make this ” The Best Summer Ever”!