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