Random acts of kindness.
Hearing that phrase has always kind of annoyed me. It might be because, as a teacher, I used to hear my kids say the word random all the time, without really understanding what it means or using it correctly. “Oh, that’s so random” they would say about a sandwich someone was eating at the lunch table. Kids, I love you, but there’s nothing random about the fact that your friend brought peanut butter and jelly to school today.
“Random” describes something that has been done “without method or conscious decision.” Even if there was something unconventional in your friend’s lunchbox, that’s fine but the odds are that someone (Mom or Dad) made at least a somewhat purposeful choice about what to put in there. A lot of the time, it’s because their kid likes that type of sandwich, or it’s a healthy option, or the kid hasn’t had that sandwich in a while and they thought it would be a refreshing change of pace.
I’m all for kindness, but when you pair it with the word “random” it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. It makes me think of a person who “ran dumb” around a room doing things that were nice but who put in no real effort nor gave real consideration to why they’re doing something. Would I tell a student to show “random respect” or complete their homework “randomly”? No.
We need to teach our kids to think through what they do, to have a purposeful method and make a conscious decision, especially when it comes to being kind to people.
It’s time to help our kids focus on being kind on purpose.
Kindness should not be random: it should be thought through, planned out, and executed for the greatest impact it can have.
No more running dumb. Ready to teach your little belle how to rock “Intentional Acts of Kindness”? It’s simple:
Sit down together and help her make a list of potential recipients: people she knows, sees, or encounters who could benefit from a little extra love and support. This will require you talking to her, asking her questions, and encouraging her to consider those in her range of influence. You can start with the obvious. Is there someone she knows who is hurt, scared, confused, angry or otherwise? When she sits quietly and thinks about the people in her life who might need something, who comes to mind and what do they need?
Identify the recipient of your kindness based on what his or her needs are, not what’s convenient or easy for you two to throw together. What do you know about this person that will help you determine how you’re going to show kindness to them? Take some time here to think through the best ways to show kindness to this person. Gary Chapman’s “The 5 Love Languages” is a great place to start thinking through some ideas.
Once you’ve narrowed down who and why, it’s time to execute the how. Here’s the key: let HER do it. It will do her no good if you take the reins and do it for her. Did you decide to write an encouraging letter to someone? Cool. She writes it. Is she too young to do that? No problem. She draws a picture, tells you the words, and you write them. Did you decide to put a care package together for someone who’s sick? Great. She goes with you to get supplies. She prepares every item included and puts it in. She delivers it. Give her a real opportunity to own the value that she provides to others.
Matthew 5:16 says:
“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds, and glorify your Father in heaven.”
The best part about these steps is that they can be completed as often as you decide. You can easily set aside time throughout the week to make this part of how you develop her character. Assess who needs help, choose someone to focus on, and provide the best value that you can. Simple, different every time, and something you can always do together.
And the more she delivers kindness that is intentional and not random, the more her light will shine and point others toward the Father.