Category Archives for "Teaching Kids About God"

Welcome to Week 5 of the Your Vibrant Family 30 Day Random Acts of Kindness Challenge! It's our final week! This week’s challenge is about secret agent kindness. We’ll explore some simple ways we can show kindness to each other in fun, stealthy ways (with kindness activities, family discussion questions, Bible verses, and more). Join us and let’s spread kindness! Remember–every act of kindness counts!

30 Days of Kindness Week 5 of 5: Kindness Appreciated

Welcome to Week 5 of the Your Vibrant Family 30 Day Random Acts of Kindness Challenge! It’s our final week!

This week’s challenge is about secret agent kindness. We’ll explore some simple ways we can show kindness to each other in fun, stealthy ways (with kindness activities, family discussion questions, Bible verses, and more).

Join us and let’s spread kindness! Remember–every act of kindness counts!

 

Welcome to Week 5 of the Your Vibrant Family 30 Day Random Acts of Kindness Challenge! It's our final week! This week’s challenge is about secret agent kindness. We’ll explore some simple ways we can show kindness to each other in fun, stealthy ways (with kindness activities, family discussion questions, Bible verses, and more). Join us and let’s spread kindness! Remember–every act of kindness counts!

Just joining us? Awesome!  Go here for more info about the Your Vibrant Family 30 Day Kindness Challenge!

Go here for the Week 1 30 Day Kindness Challenge post (Kindness to Family).

Go here for the Week 2 30 Day Kindness Challenge post (Kindness to Community).

Go here for the Week 3 30 Day Kindness Challenge post (Kindness to Our World).

Go here for the Week 4 30 Day Kindness Challenge post (Secret Agent Kindness).

Our Week 4 Results:

Secret ninja kindness was a hit in our house! Not sure if it was the secret part (which was fun) or the ninja part (my kids are totally into ninjas right now) but it worked!

I loved all the “secret” kindness I got:

…vases of flowers…
How can we show our appreciation for kindness given to us? Kindness activities, Bible verses and more! Join us for the final week in our 30 Days of Kindness challenge! |random acts of kindness | #beingkindcounts | #SMOCK | vibranthomeschooling.com

 

…beautiful displays…

How can we show our appreciation for kindness given to us? Kindness activities, Bible verses and more! Join us for the final week in our 30 Days of Kindness challenge! |random acts of kindness | #beingkindcounts | #SMOCK | vibranthomeschooling.com

 

…treasure hunts

How can we show our appreciation for kindness given to us? Kindness activities, Bible verses and more! Join us for the final week in our 30 Days of Kindness challenge! |random acts of kindness | #beingkindcounts | #SMOCK | vibranthomeschooling.com

with a special reward at the end! A massage (I was told that it had a $1.99 value! LOL!)

It was also fun to do my own secret acts of kindness. What were those? Now, come on… I can’t tell… that would spoil all the fun.

(And alright fine… I didn’t take pictures of them. It was supposed to be secret, right?)

But seriously… this week was a great reminder to me too that kindness—any kindness—needs to be done out of a heart that isn’t looking for self-praise or admiration from men, but is simply wanting to spread God’s love and to serve Him (Matt 6:1-4).

God is so faithful to shower us with blessings here on earth… I can’t imagine all the “stored” blessings He has for us in heaven when we choose to quietly serve and love our world through His strength!

Overall Kindness Challenge Results

I’m glad we did this challenge! It got all of us out of our comfort zone (handing out flowers in front the store, anyone?) and got us thinking outside of the box.

It made us aware that there are so many needs all around us… and an equal amount of opportunities for the everyday, average person (like you and me) to meet those needs.

Our family had many wonderful discussions around these topics and God was so faithful to give us incredible insight into His word during those discussions.

Now it’s your turn!

Let us know:

What were you biggest take-aways from participating in this challenge? What did you learn? How were you and your family blessed by giving kindness to others?

This leads me directly to this week’s challenge (the final one for our series!)….

Kindness Challenge Week 5: February 28-March 5

Kindness Appreciated

Suggested Kindness Activities: 

This week we have a final twist on the challenge.

We’re going to give kindness (to those who have been kind to us) by paying the kindness forward.

There are two practical ways we’re going to explore that this week.

1) Simple, Purposeful Thanks

The Who:

Our lives are blessed DAILY by people who show us kindness. Even in the darkest times, our lives are FILLED with kindnesses to be thankful for. You probably know who you need to thank for these kindnesses, but here’s a list to get you started:

God. (for his mercy, his salvation, his provision, his love, his peace… need I go on?!)

Your spouse

Your kids

Your parents and extended family

Friends

Co-workers

Leaders of groups you or your family participate in

Others in your community

Local businesses or organizations

Local government agencies or officials

The How:

How can we say thank you for these kindnesses? We can:

—tell them (notes, emails, in person)

—show an act of kindness to them (meeting a physical need, spending time with them, offering words of affirmation, sharing a hug, giving them something they’d appreciate)

—pray for them (what are their biggest needs right now? How can we help them through by lifting their cares up to God on their behalf?)

2) Develop a Kindness Dream

My husband and I have a dream of building a small stand-alone structure on our property so that others (such as traveling missionaries or needy families) could stay for free.

Now this isn’t a kindness that we can give yet, but, it’s a kindness dream that we have. God has planted it in our hearts and we are trusting that He will make it a reality for us someday.

It makes me so happy to think about it. Here’s how you can have a kindness dream too!

4 Ways To Developing A Kindness Dream 

1) Dream big. What would you love to do to show kindness to your family, to your community or to your world? It’s OK if these things aren’t achievable right now. Just take some time to dream and imagine what God could do through you! Invite your kids into this process too! What are their dreams?

2) Pray about it. Give these visions and plans to the Lord. They may not happen this week, this year or even this decade. But keep giving them to God and ask Him to confirm if this is His will, and if it is, how you can slowly (in some tiny way) begin moving toward this bigger plan.

3) Keep your eyes peeled for doors of opportunity. “Doors of opportunity” may not be obvious. They may even be minuscule in comparison to what the ultimate dream entails. But if there are small step (even a mindset shift) toward the ultimate kindness dream, then pray about them and consider if this is part of God’s plan for the dream.

4) Trust in the dream-giver. If He has birthed these dreams in your heart, then you can trust that He will be faithful to make them come to fruition. Keep asking Him to confirm this in your heart, and for eyes to clearly see what steps can be taken to make this dream a reality.

Write, Discuss or Draw Activity

  1. How did it make you feel to be kind to someone?
  2. What were the favorite kind acts that someone did for you?
  3. What is your big kindness dream?
  4. What kind acts (or words, tone, etc) do you want to make a habit beyond the 30 days?

Bible Verses to Write, Discuss or Draw

I had a hard time narrowing these down to only a few verses this week (in fact, I included twice as many than normal). There are literally pages and pages of verses that we could study! I pray that you are blown away by these verses—I was!

  • 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
  • Psalm 136
  • Psalm 139:1-18 
  • Psalm 32:1-5
  • Hebrews 13:7
  • Hebrews 12:1-12
  • Galatians 5:22-25
  • Ephesians 1:3-11

Tell Us About Your Kindness Journey!

  • Invite Others. Share this post on your own FB page, Twitter feed, Pinterest page (or whatever social media you enjoy) and invite others to join us! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #YVF30DayKindnessChallenge!
  • Share Ideas! If you have other kindness ideas, resources or Bible verses that can encourage others, please share them in the comments below!

Thank you for walking with our family on this kindness journey!

Welcome to Week 4 of the Your Vibrant Family 30 Day Random Acts of Kindness Challenge! This week’s challenge is about secret agent kindness. We’ll explore some simple ways we can show kindness to each other in fun, stealthy ways (with kindness activities, family discussion questions, Bible verses, and more). Join us and let’s spread kindness! Remember–every act of kindness counts!

30 Days of Kindness (Week 4 of 5): Secret Agent Kindness

Welcome to Week 4 of the Your Vibrant Family 30 Day Random Acts of Kindness Challenge!

This week’s challenge is about secret agent kindness. We’ll explore some simple ways we can show kindness to each other in fun, stealthy ways (with kindness activities, family discussion questions, Bible verses, and more).

Join us and let’s spread kindness! Remember–every act of kindness counts!

Welcome to Week 4 of the Your Vibrant Family 30 Day Random Acts of Kindness Challenge! This week’s challenge is about secret agent kindness. We’ll explore some simple ways we can show kindness to each other in fun, stealthy ways (with kindness activities, family discussion questions, Bible verses, and more). Join us and let’s spread kindness! Remember–every act of kindness counts!

Just joining us? Awesome!  Go here for more info about the Your Vibrant Family 30 Day Kindness Challenge!

Go here for the Week 1 30 Day Kindness Challenge post (Kindness to Family).

Go here for the Week 2 30 Day Kindness Challenge post (Kindness to Community).

Go here for the Week 3 30 Day Kindness Challenge post (Kindness to Our World).

Our Week 3 Results:

We had more good discussions this week. The verses have been really speaking to the kids (and me). All of the verses on God providing for (and taking care of) His creation were a great opening for us to talk about all the incredible ways He provides for us.

In terms of kindness to our world…

We made some of our own toys this week out of stuff around the house, such as these old school snake-from-a-paper-plate toys:

In case you forgot how to do this, simply draw a two-lined spiral on the back of a paper plate. Start the spiral in the middle, and then cut around and around until you get to the outside. Leave a wider part for the snake’s head. Then color them in with your favorite crayons or markers! Easy peasy and done!

making-snake--whole-picture

Kindness Challenge Week 4: February 21-27:

Kindness to Each Other Through Actions

Goal: To continue talking about kindness and why it’s important; to discover how we can bless family members and friends by showing kindness to each other; to continue to experience how good it feels to both get and give kindness; to build habits of kindness in our everyday family interactions.

Suggested Kindness Activities: 

Secret Agent Kindness!

This week is a little different. Like Week 1, we’re going to work on spreading kindness within our immediate family. However, instead of focusing on kind words, tone and body language, this week we’re going to focus on actions. What specific actions can we take to be kind to a member of the family?

But there’s a super fun element: All of the kindness activities are going to be done in secret!

That’s right! We’re going to be like kindness ninjas! We’ll be working our awesome black belt kindness skills (we’ve had three weeks to learn and practice) to bring more love and blessings into our family.

But where do we start? How do we direct all these mad ninja skills into incredible (but secret) kindness missions throughout our week?

I’m suggesting that we have a family discussion around kindness before we embark on our stealthy secret missions. Call it a kindness reconnaissance mission. Specifically let’s discover how our individual family members best receive kindness; and what actions, words or activities make them feel most loved. I’ve explained below.

Step 1: Family Discussion and/or Write/Draw Activity

love-languages-bookAre you familiar with Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages? In this landmark book, Chapman explains how each of us tend to have a certain “language” or manner in which make us feel most loved. Chapman describes these five languages as:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch
  • This book focuses on marital love languages, but these principles can be applied to any relationship. (Chapman does have other “love language” books such as love languages for children, teens; plus a singles edition, men’s edition, and a military edition).

Talk to each other about this. Ask each other simple questions such as:

When do you feel most loved?

Do you feel most loved when:

  • we spend time together doing something special?
  • when we tell you how much you are loved?
  • when we give you a gift?
  • when we do something special for you (such as doing a job for you)?
  • when we give you a hug?

We tend to feel loved in all of these ways, but most people have a certain one or two that really stands out. Try to identify the key love languages for each family member and write them down in a place where everyone can see them.

Next, brainstorm some practical ideas of how to love family members in each of these ways. For example, under “Words of Affirmation” one idea would be to put a “you are special” note on a dresser; or for “Acts of Service” an idea could be to do a chore for that other person.

Write these ideas down and make sure everyone has a copy.

Step 2: Plan Your Secret Missions

Challenge each other to show kindness this week through one of these love languages in at least one way to each member of the family. But remember–these kindness actions have to be done in secret!

Note: Um… “physical touch” kindness activities can’t be done in secret. Obviously.

You may want to incorporate the Write/Draw ideas listed below into this discussion.

And moms–let’s show our husbands the secret agent kindness love too! This is a great opportunity for us to give to our spouses without expecting anything in return.

Write, Discuss or Draw Activity

1) Ask God to show you how you can bless each person at least one time this week. Write it down or draw it out. Don’t show it to anyone (Moms, you can help younger kids out with this, of course). It may be a simple pledge to only say nice things to that person for one day; or to do someone’s chores for them without knowing it; or to send them a note (type it to make it more secret!).

2) Read Matthew 6:2-4. Why do you think that God likes when we practice kindness in secret?

 

Bible Verses to Write, Discuss or Draw

Of course these aren’t the only ones on this topic. These are just the ones we’re going to talk through this week—one for each day of the school week. All references are in the NLT.

Ephesians 6:1, 4: Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do… Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.

Titus 3:4-5: When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 4:2-3: Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.

Galatians 5:14: For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

James 2:14-17: What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, ‘Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

 

This Week’s Kindness ResourcesMirror-Messages

Disclaimer: My family and I haven’t personally participated in all of these activities or resources, but they look really fun and/or useful!


67 Awesome Random Acts of Kindness Ideas for Kids
 from Your Vibrant Family

4 Tips that Teach Kids to Be Kind from Your Vibrant Family

Your Vibrant Family “Teaching Kids Kindness” Pinterest Board

Kindness Crocodile idea from Pennies of Time

Cool Object Lesson on Acts of Kindness from Pennies of Time

Mirror Love Messages (a personal family favorite of ours too) from Pennies of Time

134 Random Acts of Kindness from And Then We Saved

60 Random Acts of Kindness for Kids from Feels Like Home

Showing Kindness to Others, Sandpaper People from Layered Soul

 

Tell Us About Your Kindness Acts!

  • Invite Others. Share this post on your own FB page, Twitter feed, Pinterest page (or whatever social media you enjoy) and invite others to join us! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #YVF30DayKindnessChallenge!
  • Share Ideas! If you have other kindness ideas, resources or Bible verses that can encourage others, please share them in the comments below!

 I look forward to hearing your stories this week!

30 Days of Kindness (Week 3 of 5): Kindness to Our World

Welcome to Week 3 of the Your Vibrant Family 30 Day Random Acts of Kindness Challenge!

This week’s challenge is about showing kindness to our world. We’ll explore some simple ways we can show our world kindness (with kindness activities, family discussion questions, Bible verses, and more).

Join us and let’s spread kindness! Remember–every act of kindness counts!

This week’s challenge is about showing kindness to our world. We’ll explore some simple ways we can show our world kindness (with kindness activities, family discussion questions, Bible verses, and more). Join us and let’s spread kindness! Remember--every act of kindness counts!

Just joining us? Awesome!  Go here for more info about the Your Vibrant Family 30 Day Kindness Challenge!

Go here for the Week 1 30 Day Kindness Challenge post (Kindness to Family).

Go here for the Week 2 30 Day Kindness Challenge post (Kindness to Community).

Our Week 2 Kindness Challenge Results

We had two big highlights: in-depth spiritual conversations, and the chance to make and serve food to those in our community who were homeless. 

I also wanted to share about the time we gave out flowers in front of the grocery store. Although this actually happened a few years ago during a previous kindness challenge, it was such a positive outreach to the community that I want to share it here!

1) Sharing a meal with the hungry in our community

making food to feed the homeless for a random act of kindnessMy kids are part of a homeschool charter school, and a few of the teachers coordinated this event with a local meal distribution outreach in our community.

My eleven-year-old and I had the opportunity to participate in this event, and it was a wonderful evening.

Each family was asked to bring an dish, and my son chose Chicken Alfredo Pasta with Broccoli (what I’d guess to be his favorite if we still ate pasta in our house!). Although he’d never cooked in large quantities before, I knew that he would love the opportunity to make the food. I was so proud of him as he put our part of the meal together!

While we were at the event, we prayed with the guests, helped distribute food and made it a point to start conversations and to smile at each person we saw.

serving food to the homeless as part of a random acts of kindness challenge

It was a wonderful way for both of us to step out of our comfort zone and to help feed empty bellies in our community. We are actually hoping to do this again, perhaps with other families from our church.

2) Handing Out Flowers in Front of the Grocery Store

What an amazing experience this was! I asked a fellow homeschooling mom and her two little girls to join us in the flower distribution efforts. They brought adorable little pictures to hand out as well.

you-are-loved--WEB

We prayed before we started that God would bring us people that really needed to be encouraged today. We prayed that each and every flower would be a messenger of hope and healing, and that each person would be touched deeply by these simple gifts.

And we prayed for courage. Because, let’s face it, it’s not the easiest thing in the world to stand in front of a store and give things away (even when there are no strings attached).

handing-out-flowers--WEB

It was kind of funny to watch each encounter unfold. First the person would look at us with an confused expression (why are there a bunch of kids–and their moms–holding flowers in front of a store?) Some would go in another door (which is fine–I may have reacted the same way too).

Usually if we just said, “Hi, we’re giving out flowers today just as a random act of kindness. Would you like one? They’re free,” most people would stop, soften their face, smile and give a genuine “Thank you… how sweet!” kind of comment.

Some still didn’t want our flower, even after we did the explaining. Perhaps they really didn’t believe that we didn’t had an alterior motive other than to be kind. Maybe they were allergic to Gerbera Daisies (or, as I surmised in some cases, allergic to small children!). Nevertheless, we kept handing out flowers.

One lady was so touched that she went inside and bought huge sunflowers for each of the kids! She said, “You were so kind to me to give you a flower… may I repay you and show you how grateful I am?” It was lovely.

boys-with-sunflowers--WEB

Another older gentleman stopped in his tracks when we gave him the flower. He looked almost as if he was going to cry. He just stood there for a second and finally said, “This is just… this is just a really wonderful thing you’re doing. Thank you.”

Those kind of moments made the experience priceless.

Kindness Challenge Week 3: February 14-20

Kindness to Our World

Goal: To continue talking about kindness and why it’s important; to discover how we can unite with other family members and friends to show kindness to our world; to continue to experience how good it feels to both get and give kindness; to continue to build habits of kindness in our everyday family interactions.

Suggested Kindness Activities: 

Remember, these are just suggestions. Check out the 67 Awesome Random Acts of Kindness Ideas for Kids post for more ideas.

Activity #1: Park, Beach, Trail or Forest Cleanup

30 days of kindness week 3 | random acts of kindness | being kind counts | kindness in our world | vibranthomeschooling.com

This activity is fairly simple and straightforward.

Group Option: You can either do some online searching to see what clean-up activities are going on in your community; or you can gather a few friends and make your own clean-up day!

Solo Option: Or just grab a bag, head out with the kids to a local nature area and get to work.

How to make this fun for kids:  Maybe make a game out of it:  Who can pick up the most trash? Have a small prize at the end for the winner. I also think (if you have the time) it’s fun to make a nature study time out of it. Just think… if you live by the beach you could have a beach morning doing clean-up (with a little wave action in there as well) and call it school!

Activity #2: Plant a tree or flower.

30 days of kindness week 3 | random acts of kindness | being kind counts | kindness in our world | vibranthomeschooling.com

This is another simple and fun activity with kids. There are organizations where you can plant trees together in a specific area, but perhaps the simplest way to do this is to plant a tree in your own yard (or a small bush or group of flowers if you have little to no yard, or if you just don’t want a tree).

How to make this fun for kids: You can talk about how trees clean our world by filtering out carbon dioxide and releasing life-giving oxygen. You can talk about how trees and plants give us a large majority of the food we eat. And then… you can go play in the dirt (mud pies, anyone?).

Activity #3: Recycle.

30 days of kindness week 3 | random acts of kindness | being kind counts | kindness in our world | vibranthomeschooling.com

Gather up items around the house that you’ve been meaning to recycle. Many of us have regular curbside recycling pickup as part of our sanitation service. However, what about those old batteries, paint, computer hard drives, old appliances or other electronics? Contact your local sanitation service to see if they take these items. If not, search online to see who collects these items in your area.

How to make this fun for kids: Challenge your kids to make at least one new toy out of “found” items around your house (think toilet paper rolls, tissue paper boxes, empty bottles, etc). Set out some tape, glue and other general crafting supplies on a table and see what they can come up with.

Here are some ideas to get those creatives juices flowing:

Top 10 Recycled Art and Toy Projects from Modern Parents, Messy Kids

100 Ways to Creatively Reuse Old Magazines from Always Chrysti

5 Creative Toys Made from Recycled Materials from Petit and Small

Top 10 Recycled Art and Toy Projects B-Inspired Mama

 

Kindness Write, Discuss or Draw Topics

—What were your favorite “moments of kindness” from last week?

—What are some ways that God calls us to be kind to our world?

—What are some everyday habits that our family can practice to be kind to our world?

—If you had $100, how would you spend it to change the world for the better? 

Kindness Bible Verses to Write, Discuss or Draw

Of course these aren’t the only ones on this topic. These are just the ones we’re going to talk through this week—one for each day of the school week. All references are in the NLT.

Genesis 1:28: Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”

Psalm 104:10-11: You make springs pour water into the ravines, so streams gush down from the mountains. They provide water for all the animals, and the wild donkeys quench their thirst.

Psalm 65:9-10: You take care of the earth and water it, making it rich and fertile. The river of God has plenty of water; it provides a bountiful harvest of grain, for you have ordered it so. You drench the plowed ground with rain, melting the clods and leveling the ridges. You soften the earth with showers and bless its abundant crops.

Psalm 145:9 The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation.

Zechariah 10:1: Ask the Lord for rain in the spring, for he makes the storm clouds. And he will send showers of rain so every field becomes a lush pasture.

This Week’s Kindness Resources

Disclaimer: My family and I haven’t personally participated in all of these activities or resources, but they look really fun!

67 Awesome Random Acts of Kindness Ideas for Kids from Your Vibrant Family

4 Tips that Teach Kids to Be Kind from Your Vibrant Family

Your Vibrant Family “Teaching Kids Kindness” Pinterest Board

Community Service Opportunities from Adventure Hollow

Over 30 Simple Random Acts of Kindness Resources from Thirty Handmade Days

Using Books to Inspire Acts of Kindness from The Educator’s Spin on It

Pay It Forward Activities and Free Printable from Mother’s Niche

How to Love Like Jesus Does: 28 Random Acts of Kindness from Tirzah Magazine

 

Tell Us About Your Kindness Acts!

  • Invite Others. Share this post on your own FB page, Twitter feed, Pinterest page (or whatever social media you enjoy) and invite others to join us! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #YVF30DayKindnessChallenge!
  • Share Ideas! If you have other kindness ideas, resources or Bible verses that can encourage others, please share them in the comments below!

 I look forward to hearing your stories this week!

This week's challenge is about showing kindness to our community. We'll explore some simple ways we can show our community kindness (with kindness activities, family discussion questions, Bible verses, and more). Join us for the Your Vibrant Family 30 Day Kindness Challenge and let's spread kindness to those in our community! #YVF30DayRandomActsofKindnessChallenge

30 Days of Kindness Challenge (Week 2 of 5): Kindness to Our Community

Welcome to Week 2 of the Your Vibrant Family 30 Day Random Acts of Kindness Challenge!

This week’s challenge is about showing kindness to our community. We’ll explore some simple ways we can show our community kindness (with kindness activities, family discussion questions, Bible verses, and more).

Join us and let’s spread kindness to those in our community!

This week's challenge is about showing kindness to our community. We'll explore some simple ways we can show our community kindness (with kindness activities, family discussion questions, Bible verses, and more). Join us for the Your Vibrant Family 30 Day Kindness Challenge and let's spread kindness to those in our community! #YVF30DayRandomActsofKindnessChallenge

Just joining us? Awesome!  Go here for more info about the Your Vibrant Family 30 Day Kindness Challenge!

Go here for the Week 1 30 Day Kindness Challenge post (Kindness to Family).

Our Week 1 Kindness Challenge Results

How did last week go for you? What did you and your family learn about the effects of small acts of kindness in the family?

Over and over, I watched my kids be changed by their choice to be kind. 

There were comments like this one from my 11-year-old: “Mom, I really loved your message for me on the ‘Kind Pages.’”

And from my 13-year old: “This was this first time I really understood how good it feels to give and get kindness.” Huge stuff for him!

We had some incredible conversations around kindness (love it when the Holy Spirit takes over and we end up dissecting a verse in ways I never expected).

Vibrant Homeschooling's 30 Days of Kindness Challenge: Writing Activities, Ideas, Scriptures and More! [VibrantHomeschooling.com]

Note the lovely—but un-eraseable—marks on the board. Please tell me you also have a four-year-old who loves experimenting with a Sharpie around the house.

Week 1 Kindness Jar Results

We used the kindness jar a little differently than we’d planned.

Every day the kids started with all the beans in one jar. If someone was unkind, we moved a bean to the other “unkind” jar. They then had to work as a team to do a kind act to get the bean back into the “kind” jar again before they could have free time.

This worked like a charm.

If someone was unkind and I had to move a bean to the “unkind” jar, I was touched at how quickly they worked together to get that naughty little bean back in the right jar.

They did everything from sharing pencils, to helping each other with chores, to just offering unusual amounts of grace to someone that was having a bad day.

And one day (after a day of lots of naughty little beans), I came home to find this:

(COLLAGE OF PHOTOS OF WHAT THEY DID THAT DAY)

Yep, they’d completely cleaned up the house. Without any prompting from me. And they worked together to do it!

To me, that’s real kindness in action. It’s kindness being integrated into the everyday trials and annoyances that just happen in families.

This is what I’m praying carries over to this week! And beyond!

Week 2: February 8-14

Kindness to Our Community

Kindness Goal for the Week: 

To continue talking about kindness and why it’s important; to discover how we can unite with other family members and friends to show kindness to our immediate community; to continue to experience how good it feels to both get and give kindness (“honey”); to continue to build habits of kindness in our everyday family interactions.

Family Discussion Time About Kindness:

  • Explain the 30 Days to Kindness Challenge and some of the ways you may be participating this month.
  • If there has been some hurt and resentment between family members, you may want to offer an opportunity for anyone to apologize for past actions (sometimes this is easier if the parents lead the way by apologizing for a recent action or attitude).
  • Ask each other—how can I be more kind to you with my words, tone and body language (again, parents lead this and listen)? 

Suggested Kindness Activities: 

Remember, these are just suggestions. Check out the 67 Awesome Random Acts of Kindness Ideas for Kids post for more ideas.

Activity #1: Hand out flowers to strangers (such as in front of a grocery store).

Step 1: Purchase flowers or trim some from your garden.

Vibrant Homeschooling's 30 Days of Kindness Challenge: Writing Activities, Ideas, Scriptures and More! [VibrantHomeschooling.com]

            Step 2: Trim a 12 x 12 piece of cardstock into small notecards and have the kids write simple messages on them (brainstorm a few ideas with the kids such as “You are special,” “You are appreciated,” “Have a wonderful day,” “God loves you,” etc).

Vibrant Homeschooling's 30 Days of Kindness Challenge: Writing Activities, Ideas, Scriptures and More! [VibrantHomeschooling.com]

Step 3: Gather your supplies: flowers, scissors, hole punch and wrapping paper ribbon.

30 Days of Kindness Challenge (Week 2 of 5): Writing/Discussion Activities, Ideas, Scriptures and More! [VibrantHomeschooling.com]

Step 4: Once the notecards are written, hole punch the top left corner of the notecard and string a piece of the ribbon through it. Wrap it around the stem twice and tie a knot. 

Vibrant Homeschooling's 30 Days of Kindness Challenge: Writing Activities, Ideas, Scriptures and More! [VibrantHomeschooling.com]

Step 5: Gather each person’s flowers/cards into the leftover plastic sack that the flowers were packaged in (Note: Plan ahead and get one sack per person when you’re grabbing the flowers). If you’ve gathered flowers from home, a rolled up piece of newspaper would also work nicely.

Vibrant Homeschooling's 30 Days of Kindness Challenge: Writing Activities, Ideas, Scriptures and More! [VibrantHomeschooling.com]

               Step 6: If you are a Christian, pray over each flower, asking God to bring people that really need an acts of kindness or encouraging word today.

               Step 7: Hand out the flowers! (Note: If you choose to hand them out in a privately owned location such as a grocery store, be sure to ask permission from the store management.)

30 Days of Kindness Challenge (Week 2 of 5): Writing/Discussion Activities, Ideas, Scriptures and More! [VibrantHomeschooling.com]

Activity #2: Write a letter (or draw a picture) for your local police, firefighter or military personnel and hand-deliver it. 

Check out these awesome free printables from Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations.  They are perfect for this activity!

You could also include cookies or other treats if you’d like.

Activity #3: Prepare and deliver meals to those in your community that are home-bound, dealing with ongoing illness or tragedy, or just need to know that they are loved.

30 Days of Kindness Challenge (Week 1 of 5): Writing Activities, Ideas, Scriptures and More! [VibrantHomeschooling.com]

Churches, local food pantries or perhaps even assisted living facilities may be able to link you up with those in need.

We are working with a group of homeschool families to provide meals for a local homeless soup kitchen for the evening (the kids are making the food!).

Or, who wouldn’t like a whole bunch of freezer meals made for them? Freezer meals are especially appreciated by moms about to give birth or those anticipating an upcoming surgery or other difficult life situation. Here’s a post I did on how to make up several freezer meals in bulk.

30 Days of Kindness Challenge (Week 2 of 5): Writing Activities, Ideas, Scriptures and More! [VibrantHomeschooling.com]

The world’s easiest-to-assemble freezer meal: Make a stir fry with pre-packaged chicken breasts, sliced bell peppers, broccoli, onions, a jar of teriyaki sauce and pre-cooked rice.

Activity #4: Kindness Jar

This is the same activity we started last week. Let’s continue to build the habit of kindness to our family members!

Kindness Write, Discuss or Draw Topics

  • What were your favorite “moments of kindness” from last week?
  • Explain how it made you feel to receive kindness. How did the kindness you got from others brighten your day, improve your attitude or reshape how you handled a difficult situation?
  • Share how it make you feel to give kindness. If it felt good to give kindness, was this surprising? If so, how? Did it make you want to give more kindness?
  • What are some ways that God calls us to be kind in our community?
  • Why do you think it’s especially important for Christians to show kindness to our community?

Kindness Bible Verses to Write, Discuss or Draw

Of course these aren’t the only ones on this topic. These are just the ones we’re going to talk through this week—one for each day of the school week. All references are in the NLT.

Titus 3:1: Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.

1 Kings 3:9: (can be a prayer for our government leaders): Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?

James 1:27: Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

Deuteronomy 24:19: When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don’t go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Then the Lord your God will bless you in all you do.

Psalm 68:5: Father to the fatherless, defender of widows— this is God, whose dwelling is holy.

This Week’s Kindness Resources

Disclaimer: My family and may or may not have personally used all of these resources.

I have these and other “kindness project” resources on this Pinterest board.

325-x-475-67-Random-Acts-of-Kindness-Ideas-for-KidsNEW POST: 67 Awesome Random Acts of Kindness Ideas for Kids by Your Vibrant Family

25 Ways to Encourage by Pickle Bums

Ideas to Help Families That Really Need It by Rants from Mommyland

Recipe List by Take Them A Meal

“Survival Kit for Police” by Gifts U Can Make

More Blank Thank You Letters for Firefighters, Police Officers and Soldiers from Erica’s Ed-Ventures

Tell Us About Your Kindness Acts!

  • Invite Others. Share this post on your own FB page, Twitter feed, Pinterest page (or whatever social media you enjoy) and invite others to join us! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #YVF30DayKindnessChallenge!
  • Share Ideas! If you have other kindness ideas, resources or Bible verses that can encourage others, please share them in the comments below!

I can’t wait to see all the beauty that will come from a deliberate focus on kindness to our community! I look forward to hearing your stories this week!

3 Practical Ways to Pray for the Persecuted and the Lost (Plus A Free Prayer Card)

How can we remember to pray for believers in faraway places, and how can we remember to pray for those who have yet to believe? Practical ideas here to do with the kids. Vibrant Homeschooling

This guest post is written by Bonnie Rose of WriteBonnieRose.com.

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:20-23 NIV). 

John 17 is one of my favorite parts of the Easter story. The privilege of listening to Jesus pray overwhelms me. And to think He prayed for me! But it also makes me think about the world, both for “those who will believe…that all of them may be one” and the world that our unity is to be a witness to.

How can we remember to pray for believers in faraway places, and how can we remember to pray for those who have yet to believe? There are a number of ways. One way is through email. How many of us check our email at least once (or twice or a dozen times) a day?

  • You can sign up with the U.S. Center for World Missions to receive daily prayer reminders. Each one focuses on a different group of people in the world who need to hear of Jesus’ love, many for the first time.
  • You can also adopt a Bibleless people group through prayer by signing up at Wycliffe.org. They will assign you a people group to pray regularly for who do not yet have the Scriptures in their heart language, the language they understand and relate to best.
  • The Joshua Project will send you an email every day (or only on days you select) that gives you a glimpse into the world of just one of the more than 4,000 unreached people groups around the world. According to their website, more than two billion people are living and dying right now without ever having heard of Jesus or having the chance to believe in Him. That’s almost a third of the world’s population. Every one of them needs our prayers.

You can print prayer cards from Joshua Project that include photos and statistics of thousands of unreached people. You can select by country, by religion, by people cluster, and more. You can also print prayer calendars to help you and your family remember to pray.

Or, if you and your children would enjoy personalizing some prayer cards, you can print the black and white prayer cards below. Each card has a prayer based on John 17 as well as room for you to write the name of a nation you wish to remember to pray for.

How can we remember to pray for believers in faraway places, and how can we remember to pray for those who have yet to believe? Practical ideas here to do with the kids. Vibrant Homeschooling

My prayer as we approach this Easter is that God will help me pray more often and more earnestly for those who need Him. Will you join me?

Download your Printable Daily Prayer Cards for the Persecuted and Lost

Day 6: Counting Down to Advent with 25 Random Acts of Christmas Kindness

Great list of how our family incorporates Random Acts of Kindness with our Christmas and Advent traditions. Day 6 of 12 Days of Christmas Teachable Moments

 

This post is Day 6 of Vibrant Homeschooling’s “12 Days of Christmas Teachable Moments” series. 

Click here to access previous posts in the series.

Christmas is my favorite time of year.  Everyone is in a happy mood not to mention the opportunities to talk about Jesus are everywhere which makes sharing the Gospel extraordinarily easy.

With that in mind,  I like to use this time of year to teach my children how to serve others while sharing the Gospel by doing random acts of Christmas kindness.  Why this time of year?  People are simply more receptive to it.  I’m trying to teach my  children the hows and whys so I want them to be successful in their attempts.  This, in turn, will make them more willing to do it as a daily habit throughout the rest of the year.

As part of my Christmas decorations, I make a set of 25 envelopes.  Depending on when I make them is how fancy they look.  Some years, I paint on them then put the countdown numbers.  If I happen to get an early start then I’ll even get some pretty decorative envelopes. Oops, I forgot means that it’s just envelopes with numbers on them.  There is no right or wrong way here.  Don’t get so caught up in the envelopes that you forget why you are making them.  You are counting down to the birth of our Lord and Savior.  One of the holiest days of the year!

Acts 20:35

In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Great list of how our family incorporates Random Acts of Kindness with our Christmas and Advent traditions. Day 6 of 12 Days of Christmas Teachable Moments by Vibrant Homeschooling

Each envelope gets a slip of paper with a random act of kindness printed in it.

Great list of how our family incorporates Random Acts of Kindness with our Christmas and Advent traditions. Day 6 of 12 Days of Christmas Teachable Moments by Vibrant Homeschooling

These are all designed to teach the children to be the hands and feet of Jesus here on earth.  To love others because He first loved us.  To do what we can to advance the Kingdom.

Great list of how our family incorporates Random Acts of Kindness with our Christmas and Advent traditions. Day 6 of 12 Days of Christmas Teachable Moments by Vibrant Homeschooling

These acts can be simple or advanced.  I try to look at the calendar while I am putting the slips in the envelopes.  The easy acts go in days that I know we are super busy.  This guarantees that we will get it done regardless of our activities.  Anything we need to complete it goes in the envelope too.

Great list of how our family incorporates Random Acts of Kindness with our Christmas and Advent traditions. Day 6 of 12 Days of Christmas Teachable Moments by Vibrant Homeschooling

Don’t get me wrong. This is a non-negotiable activity for our family.  We simply open the envelopes at breakfast to see what our activity is for that day.  Then we brainstorm ways to make it happen.  Finally, we decide if we are going to be anonymous or take credit for our actions.  Regardless of what we decide, we always leave a Gospel message.

A great place to get a leave-behind tag to go along with all these is Simply Living  For Him. Take a look at her beautiful “Christmas Acts of Kindness” tags.

kindnesstags2--WEB

 

Love her version because it talks about Jesus.  Since we are doing all this for Him, we want to be sure to give Him the Glory.

Great list of how our family incorporates Random Acts of Kindness with our Christmas and Advent traditions. Day 6 of 12 Days of Christmas Teachable Moments by Vibrant Homeschooling

Our activities:

  1. Distribute blessing bag meals for the homeless.
  2. Host an annual cookie decorating party for service personnel.
  3. Ring the bell for the Salvation Army.
  4. Pay for the person behind you in line at the drive thru.
  5. Set up a free wrapping table outside a major store for a few hours.
  6. Go caroling at a nursing home.
  7. Do a mobile food drive for a local food pantry.  Simply announce that you are picking up donations if people want to leave them on their porch then drive around to pick them up.  Deliver to the food pantry.
  8. Hand out words of encouragement at a local mall while people are bustling about.
  9. School supplies teacher gift bags dropped off at our local elementary school.
  10. Tape dollars to the back of toys in the dollar store.
  11. Give baggies of soap and quarters to people at the laundromat.
  12. Make a freezer meal gift basket.
  13. Pass out candy canes to people we meet with the legend of the candy cane attached.
  14. Bring hot chocolate to the Bell Ringers on a really cold day.
  15. Collect blankets to deliver to the homeless on a cold night.
  16. Put quarters in the bubble gum machines.
  17. Host single friends for dinner then send them home with the leftovers.
  18. Hand out Starbucks cards to various people walking in.
  19. Walk through Publix randomly handing customers coupons for the items in their cart or for $ off their total.
  20. Hiding coupons amongst the items they were for.
  21. Buying an entire Thanksgiving meal then randomly picking someone in the parking lot to give it to
  22. Collect rocks. Paint hearts or crosses on them.  Put them randomly on sidewalks where people will find them.  We like to put John 3: 16 on there too if we can fit it.
  23. Leave encouraging notes in random books at the library.
  24. Hang out at a store or mall and people watch. Catch someone doing a good deed then give them a thank you note with a $5 Target card inside.
  25. Pick 5 people and anonymously mail them their favorite thing.

That’s it! Enjoy doing these with your family or come up with your own ways to spread Christmas kindness and God’s love.

 

Our kids need to learn to get along!!! We've declared

Love and Peace (or Else): When Kids Argue and Fight

 Our kids need to learn to get along!!! We've declared "Love and Peace (Or Else)" [VibrantHomeschooling.com]Dear Lord, we are at a loss.

My husband and I don’t know how to get our kids to love each other.

We pray regularly for peace and continually ask for help in controlling anger and frustration in our home.

We share numerous examples with our kids of how real love acts (and doesn’t act), by looking at historical figures, biblical characters, family members, etc.

We ask others for advice and read many books on the subject.

We regularly remove privileges and institute consequences when the kids are unkind, demonstrating that their bad actions can negatively affect their lives.

We daily encourage our kids to “speak kindly to each other,”; to “have grace and patience with each other’s faults”; to “find ways to serve one another” and to “model servanthood by letting the other person go first.”

We are not perfect people, but our marriage (and interactions with each other) demonstrate these qualities. 

And yet, here we are again, about to face another “family talk” on getting along and loving each other.

Why can’t we figure this out?

That was my desperate prayer a few days ago after I’d finally reached a tipping point with all the bickering around here.

Is it an impossibility to think that our kids can get along, even with their differences in temperament, age, gender and interests?

Or should we just relegate “real love” to one of those lofty (but clearly unattainable) wall posters phrases, and just accept that brothers and sisters have always fought and will always do so?http://yourvibrantfamily.com/wp-admin/import.phpOur kids need to learn to get along!!! We've declared "Love and Peace (Or Else)" [VibrantHomeschooling.com]

Boy, there are days when that seems like the best option. In those moments when they’re at each other’s throats, my battle-weary heart wants to tell them to give up because they’ll never get along.

At very least, there are times I want them to figure it out (in another room) so I don’t have to hear it because I am tired of playing referee with phrases like:  “Try to see it her way.” “How can you love and serve him right now?” “Is this issue worth hurting your relationship?” and of course, “Please just get along!!!”

And yes, I do believe that kids need to figure it out themselves sometimes and we parents can’t always solve all their problems. However, there’s a fine line between letting them just duke it out and knowing when they need more teaching, modeling and instruction.

A Training Ground for Conflict Management

We believe that the home is the training ground for life. It is a safe place to learn and practice real world skills.

And part of those basic life skills is learning how to get along with those who are different from us.

Think of how it could change our children’s future destinies if they simply learned and practiced healthy conflict management skills from an early age! Relationships, marriage, business: if you’ve been in these situations for more than five minutes you know how critical it is to learn to get along with those who are different from you. What kind of life-long advantage would it give our kids? A HUGE one.

And yet, there’s no college course… no AP class that our kids can take to learn this. If they’re lucky, they pick up the skills at some work-sponsored seminar or maybe read a book about conflict in marriage.

But what if it’s too late then? What if irreparable damage has already been done? What about all those years (and those relationships) that have been spoiled up to that point because the tools simply weren’t there?

What if God’s design for sibling rivalry is to be an opportunity to learn (and practice) these powerful skills right now, in childhood, within the healthy boundaries of loving family relationships?

This was our mindset when we sat down with our kids at the family meeting a few days ago.

The Meeting (and the Questions)

At the meeting, we shared (once again) the reasons above why conflict resolution skills are critical for life.

We knew they’d heard this before.

They were good kids who (usually) tried their best. They weren’t inherently evil beings who were out to get each other. They were selfish sinners, just like us, who by their nature make mistakes and sometimes just don’t want to do (or don’t know how to do) the right thing.

They, like us, were just figuring this all out.

So first we offered them grace and forgiveness for their mistakes, and we asked them to apologize to one another. Then we simply stated: what practical tools or methods do you need to make it possible to live in harmony? Are there questions you need answered?

Their responses were astute, telling (and universal for most conflicts). They asked us things like: “How do you solve a problem when you both want your own way?” and “How do you control your anger when you’re really mad at someone?”

Believing that the Bible is the answer book for the big questions of life, we pledged to spend time as a family looking through scripture for these answers.

So, that’s what we’ve done the past few nights after dinner. No agendas, no outlines in mind of where to go or what to teach. Taking one question a night, we’ve simply asked God to show us verses that would give us practical insight. And honestly, it’s been amazing what we’ve discovered.

The Great Experiment (and Hopefully, the Great Change)

We start by searching together for verses that give meaningful, tangible solutions to the question (a concordance has been helpful). Once we’ve discovered a passage or two, we write down the key phrases or words from the passage on a small whiteboard (the kids take notes).

Next we write down a visual that comes to mind to explain the point. For example, last night we answered, “How do you get along with someone who bugs you?” Our main teaching was from Colossians 3:12-15:

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.

We felt that the two most applicable phrases were “make allowance for each other’s faults” and “above all, clothe yourselves in love.” So we came up with two visuals.Our kids need to learn to get along!!! We've declared "Love and Peace (Or Else)" [VibrantHomeschooling.com]

“Make allowance” reminded me of the “two-second rule” that we’re told about in Driver’s Education classes (remember that? Keep at least a two-second distance from the car in front of you?). The reasons for this when driving are clear: if we leave extra space between cars, then we won’t cause an accident if the car in front was to stop suddenly.

But what if we thought of relationships in the same way, especially relationships with those who are different from us? Isn’t it reasonable to assume that there may be some potential “rear-end collisions”? So, what if we anticipated those and left some breathing room for people to be different? If we became extra sensitive around people’s hot buttons (or if we anticipated their “strange” responses in certain situations), wouldn’t we be less shocked by them and thus have less conflict?

The visual for “above all, clothe yourselves in love” was simply a stick figure of a person “wearing” a shirt with “love” on it. This was to remind us that we can choose to put on or take off an attitude of love towards someone, just like we take on or off our clothing.

So now, we have two practical visuals that we reference with the kids when this situation occurs. We’ve written them (along with the scriptures) on a whiteboard in our kitchen so that we can glance at them often (you know, just in case we forget).

As the days have progressed, we’ve had a few opportunities to practice using our new tools (go figure, in a house full of imperfect people). And along with basic conflict resolution patterns we’ve always talked about (confession, asking for/receiving forgiveness, and searching for a reasonable solution), they seem to be working well.

Two of our children have an especially tumultuous relationship, and we knew they needed a more drastic intervention in order to see changes. So, we’ve asked them to spend their free time together for the rest of the week. We also did some bed switch-a-roo and now these two are sharing bunk beds, at least for the next several weeks, in order for them to work out their differences.

After only one night in the same room, we were shocked to hear that their relationship was already improving.

“I just think I need to get to know her better,” one of the new roommates said the following morning.

“Yes, you really do,” I said, after I picked my jaw up off the floor.

So the experiment continues. I’m sure the tools will be constant use. And we probably haven’t had the last family meeting on this topic.

But we’re praying that it will get better. That love, peace (and civility) will reign most days.

And more importantly, we’re praying they can practice the basics here in our home so they’ll be equipped to handle adult-size conflict in a few short years.

How do you and your family handle conflict?