You know, I’d like to think that my children show the utmost kindness towards each other–all the time. Really, is it THAT hard? So much to ask? I really don’t think so. I find myself saying, “Don’t talk to each other. Don’t look at each other. Was that necessary?” With our sometimes loooong summer days, I found that fuses could be short, and the kindness factor was lacking. It sortof infuriates me when my kids are unkind to each other. I don’t tolerate it. After 2 months of up and down, I devised a plan. I like to implement positive re-inforcement when I can…and my kids like a little money. Since they don’t get money from us for daily jobs, it’s harder to come by at home. I came up with the Kindness Coins. Each week (I chose Sunday) since I expected kindness, I presented the coins with full hopes that they would get to keep all of them. Since my boys are older (and wise to the whole “penny is only 1 cent” bit) I chose quarters, something I wanted them to want to keep a hold of. I chose well, because they did. For me, that amounted to 10 coins per child, a total of $2.50 each.
I explained that I wanted to reward them in advance for their expected kindness, but if they choose to show unkindness towards a sibling or myself, I will request a quarter. I’d like to report that after a month, things are coming along quite nicely. They are learning that with each unkind comment (sometimes they don’t even realize it), a quarter must be gently placed in my hand (I’ve had a few thrown, and that’s a no-no…go get another quarter;). In a more severe instance, I asked for 2 quarters, and in all cases, I expect (sincere, look-them-in-the-eye) apologies for the unkindness. A very simple song I learned in church as a child comes to mind, “I want to be kind to everyone, for that is right, you see. So I say to myself…remember this: Kindness begins with me.”
When they give a quarter to me, I put it right back into the bucket from which I drew at the beginning of the week. Just make sure you replenish your supply (or maybe it was a rough week and you don’t have to). We are working on showing more kindness at home, to make it a more enjoyable place for all of us. One of my favorite songs, Love at Home, I sometimes sing (just to doubly emphasize my point): “There is beauty all around,
when there`s love at home.”