Most of us try to live our lives according to the Golden Rule, but “Love Thy Neighbor” is a daunting mandate when you start to think about how to turn words into actions. Should we love our neighbors by giving hugs each time we see them? Do we show our love by being a good listener? Does this mean we put others’ needs ahead of our own? And who are these pesky neighbors anyway?
Just because I’m an adult does not mean I have completed my education on showing my love to others. Every day is a new learning opportunity and my hope is that I do far more encouraging and empowering than belittling and devaluing. I think I do a pretty good job most days, but the failures stay in my thoughts long after the offenses occur. I do not fear the words “I’m sorry”, but also know an apology is a poor substitute for conducting myself in a manner which does not require apologies at all.
When it comes to teaching my children how to treat others, I feel even more concerned with how to impart meaningful knowledge instead of simply reprimanding them for failure to say “please” and “thank you.” I tend to forget how difficult some concepts are for children to understand and my recent experience trying to talk about friendship, kindness, understanding, humility and consideration has reminded me that these are big words with a heckuva lot of collective meaning.
As with any task, I think the key to educating children on this broad topic is to take it one step at a time – one concept at a time, if you will. I also believe in illustrations and stories to help them connect to and remember ideas. I’ve stumbled upon a couple of illustrations/activities over the years which have been particularly helpful in communicating to my kids about how I expect them to treat others. The following illustration is something my daughter learned in Kindergarten and I think it is so powerful! Continue reading There’s No Beauty Cream For THESE Wrinkles
No, this post has nothing to do with a powerful political movement that’s sweeping our country. It’s about something way more important. A totally different kind of tea party.
As the father of a beautiful three-month old little girl, I just want to make sure I’ve covered all my bases in writing about what actually constitutes a real man should I ever receive an invitation from my daughter to attend a tea party (imagined or otherwise) that she’s hosting. That said, a real man is willing to sit down for a tea party with his daughter.
By attending a tea party as the honored guest of his daughter, a real man models for her the kind of man she should be interested in dating when she is of courting age.
The only other important thing I can add to this discussion at this time is this: a real man always remembers to stick his pinky out.
It all started with a plastic Smurfs purse.
On my 7th or 8th birthday, a sweet little girl named Amy giggled with excitement as my mom announced that it was time for the birthday girl to open gifts. Everyone gathered, tired from what seemed like hours of pony rides across my dad’s farm land, but Amy eagerly planted herself at the front of the pack and requested that I open her gift first. What I wouldn’t know until later was that she had already told my mother all about the gift, and my mother’s anxiety was growing by the second. You see, I already had this particular Smurfs purse, which was carefully tucked away in my dresser at home. Although it was my favorite new treasure, my mom was anticipating a less than stellar reaction to receiving a duplicate. This feeling was tempered only by her hope that I would pull through the awkward moment with a gracious response.
Just for fun, let’s turn this into a multiple choice question. How do you think I responded?
a.) I smiled, thanked Amy for such a thoughtful gift and later discussed exchange options with my mom.
b.) I congratulated Amy on her great taste since I had recently picked out the very same purse.
c.) I absently said, “I already have this” and moved on to the next gift unaware that my friend, deflated, had moved to the back of the pack.
Continue reading Everything I Know About Kindness I Learned From Four Inch Blue Creatures