Friday, May 17, 2013

Our Summer Hit List

My oldest son is pretty excited that school will soon be out. He is not so thrilled about going to daycare every day, even though his new daycare runs their summer program more like a camp than a daycare- he will be super busy doing amazing fun outings all summer long! So while he seems sad and nervous about his summer arrangements, even though he knows many of the kids he will be with every day, he is also busy planning all the fun summer activities he wants us to do as a family. Or, better yet, that he just wants me and him to do- Matthew and Mommy time on steroids.

swimming. splash pad. bike riding. nascar race. (yes, he is thinking big, but it is not out of the question.) cosi. creeking. (I am so no into this one!) ice cream. lots of ice cream. fairs. carnivals. chuck e. cheese. games. games. games. backyard fun. new toys for the backyard fun. His list is endless. Which got me thinking. My super six year old has spent this past school year learning how to be a blessing to others. And now he all about thinking about himself. Planning fun for himself is great. I am glad that he is taking charge of his own fun and not waiting around for others to make his day, so to speak. But I don't want my sweet boy to lose his focus on others.

I see a lot of random acts of kindness around our home. My super six year old quietly helps me out around the house during those moments when his little brother brings me to my knees. He offers hugs and back rubs and lots of snuggles. He clears his dinner dishes and throws away his snack wrappers. He finds quiet ways to keep himself occupied when I am mired in little brother drama. Yes, I am the recipient of a lot of great philanthropic behavior from my oldest son. But I don't really see him thinking of others in the same way. So this summer, I think we will have two lists taped to our fridge.
Our summer "fun" list, and our summer "hit" list. One will be for us- swimming, trips, Popsicles. And the other will be for "hitting" others with our random acts of kindness.

I spent some time thinking about this list, and then asked my boys for their input. I know if I am to get them excited about this then it has to be boy friendly. (Which is why it is our "hit" list  and not our "random acts of kindness" list.)

Our Summer "HIT" List

  • gather up old sheets and blankets and donate to local animal shelter. (We have LOTS of sheets and blankets that have been, uh, peed on, more than once. After so many wettings they tend to turn a little yellow. They are clean, but look a little icky. I figure the animals will do their share of peeing, right?)
  • pick out canned and boxed foods while shopping and deliver to the food pantry box at church.
  • make cookies and deliver to elderly woman who lives across the street. (We don't know her, we have never met her. But I believe she has caregivers coming in every day to assist her and I don't think she gets out much, if at all. This one is a HUGE step out of my comfort zone, but I think it is important for my boys to be a part of an act if kindness like this.)
  • drop off boxes of Popsicles to the fire station.
  • pray for the injured when we see an ambulance fly by. (We actually already do this, but it is good for this list too!)
  • introduce ourselves to a child playing alone at the playground and ask him/her to join in on our fun.
  • pay for another smoothie lover's smoothie when we visit our favorite smoothie place.
  • write a letter or draw a picture to send to the great aunts.
  • be extra sweet to the bus driver driving to the daycare summer camp events. say hello and thank you.
  • hold the door at a store or restaurant.
  • color summery pictures or create an easy summery craft and deliver to a local assisted living.
I am sure we will add more as the summer wears on, but it's a start. They are small steps, sure. But each act of kindness will move the "me me me" focus a little closer to where it really should be, on others. And in the meantime, maybe my little men will begin to have a better understanding of how their actions affect others, both good and bad.

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