Fun Family Kindness Challenge

It always makes me a little sad when I am kind to a worker in a retail store or restaurant and they thank me like I’ve just given them a million dollars. Their reaction tells me it may have been a very long time since a customer treated them with just the very basics of kindness.

Let’s get real. Most of us have little margin in our lives. We don’t get enough sleep or exercise and we don’t eat as nutritiously as we should. So when a retail worker doesn’t move as quickly as we want them to or there is the slightest little issue, we snap. Ah, you may say…. but the person wasn’t doing their job properly or was rude to me. Yet, Jesus said we are to love even our enemies and treat them with kindness, too.

For Christian parents, our rudeness has another problem attached. Our kids are watching everything we do. They are soaking it in like little sponges. If they see you routinely being unkind to retail workers or bad drivers, they are going to be rude to those who annoy them in their lives. Soon it becomes a really bad habit for your entire family. A bad habit that draws no one to God and is a poor reflection of God’s image.

Why not have a family challenge to break bad habits and add some kindness to the world (kindness can have a ripple effect too). Gather your kids together and read a few verses like Luke 6:35 and Ephesians 4:32. Ask your children why they believe God wants us to be kind to others. Look at 1 Corinthians 13 and start making a list of ways to show kindness to others. Then add to the list concrete things like giving sincere compliments (preferably on character traits and not just appearance) or helping someone carry things.

Write each idea on a little slip of paper, fold them all and place them in a container. Every day for the period of your family kindness challenge, someone draws the slip of paper for the day. While hopefully your family is more focused on doing all of the things you listed, the act on the slip drawn is the special focus for the day. Everyone should go out of their way to do whatever it says as many times as possible during the day.

That evening at dinner (or before bed) have everyone share their experiences with the kindness act of the day. How hard was it to do? How often were they able to do it during the day? Could they do it so many times they lost count? How did people respond? (Not everyone will respond to kindness with kindness or gratitude. The response should not keep us from continuing to be kind to that person.) Don’t forget that family members should be kind to each other as well, so make sure you encourage them to be kind to each other each day.

How long your Family Kindness Challenge lasts is up to you. If you have enough ideas and keep it going for long enough, however, you may find that kindness has become natural for your entire family.

Published by

Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking.

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