A good friend of mine shares her young daughter’s Halloween blessing!
“I used to pick up my daughter every Wednesday from kindergarten and make the hour-long trek to see my father-in-law at his nursing home. I encouraged her to think of something to tell her grandfather. Sometimes I even brought other children with me. On Halloween, she went in costume.
I saw these visits as a blessing on several fronts.
My father-in-law got a visit from a sweet girl who loved him, was happy to bestow kisses and sit on his lap.
The other residents of the home got to see a pleasant child who always brought something clever with her:
- The latest kindergarten project that I didn’t want. (I took pictures of great projects and kept those. My daughter then freely gave the projects away.)
- Flowers or a piece of nature. She was great with dandelions.
- A balloon. (Who would have thought of that? The last belly laugh I got out of my father-in-law came from batting the balloon with his granddaughter.)
My daughter learned that people are worth visiting and not to be afraid of the elderly or those in wheelchairs.
She grew up to work in a nursing home in college and took her sweet nature for the patients with her. Once she even took time to discuss a woman’s weightier questions about life and death and eternity as a result of not being afraid.
Tweetable: An elderly friend or family member might appreciate a visit from your children in their Halloween costumes. Can you fit it into the schedule this week? Click to Tweet
Robert Fulghum famously said, “All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten.” Two years after they graduated from kindergarten these girls expanded upon “Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody,” thanks to their mothers joining forces to teach some conflict resolution.
A good friend of mine told me her experience.
“My 7-year-old daughter Sophie came home one day very upset because her best friend Mariah said something insensitive about her height.
Sophie was very short for her age, and sensitive about it. Mariah, who was tall for her age, had no understanding that someone might be sensitive about her height.
I called Mariah’s mom and explained the situation. Both of us wanted to teach our daughters how to work through conflict productively.
Moms and daughters get together.
We set up a meeting time for Sophie to share how she felt, for Mariah to hear, understand it, and apologize, and for Sophie to accept the apology and restore the relationship.
Both girls were afraid, as neither liked conflict, but they worked through the process as we coached them.
The result was a restored friendship, rather than the growing distance that occurs when hurt feelings go unaddressed.
The family gets involved.
Our family was later able to talk about that experience of recognizing when you have done something wrong and using courtesy when asking for and receiving forgiveness.”
Tweetable: Two moms join forces to teach a simple lesson in conflict resolution to their daughters. To what degree are you and your closest friends teaming up for some of these important life lessons? Click to Tweet
Smile whenever you see courtesy in a child you’re close to. You are a walking, talking, indelible image of how to make your corner of the world a better place. Your courtesy efforts multiply because they are doing what you do.
Family members were happy to share these experiences.
- “The kids lower their voices when they are on their cellphones in public. When I was trying to learn to do this, I used to say that if I’m having trouble hearing someone, raising my voice doesn’t fix it.”
- “When my daughter is wearing headphones, I’ve seen her become more aware of staying tuned to social courtesies. When I accidentally cross someone’s personal space, I apologize and she is picking up on this.”
- “My family doesn’t show up at a party empty-handed, unless we’ve been instructed to. We bring a food item (but not always to serve then) or a plant. My daughter spoke up from the backseat recently when I completely forgot to do this so we stopped and picked something up.”
- “If our children are invited to a friend’s house to play, they also feel invited to help with the cleanup. That’s been a tough one to learn but it’s coming along.”
- “Since people offend me at times, once in a while when my child is with me, I’m open about my ups and downs on the road to forgiving. I generally let my son in on the conversation as I’m working it out and even ask him what he would do.”
- “My nephew was watching as someone started a rant with me about politics. Later I talked to him about why I did not inject my own political opinions but simply summarized this friend’s position to her, letting her know I heard her.”
What easy acts of courtesy can you add to this list?
“Courtesy is a small act but it packs a mighty wallop.” –Lewis Carroll
Tweetable: Pivot away from today’s disheartening rhetoric toward the elaborate courtesy your own children offered to many people they were with. Go here for a smile. Click to Tweet