When our kids get home from school, we ask them a lot of questions. Did you have a good day? What did you learn today? Did anything interesting happen today? But there is one question we should ask our kids that we probably aren’t asking. What did you do for someone else today?
One of the nicest things about having 8 kids at home is that at least one of them says something that really makes me think every day. Yesterday it was my youngest daughter. We were talking about her day at school and her friends and she told me that she realized that she had a much better day at school when she tried to do something nice for someone else that day. She said it made her less worried about what other people were doing and she made new friends too.
That was the new years resolution my cute little 10 year old made for herself. She plans to do something nice for someone else every day and she wants me to check with her to remind her. She wants me to ask her what she did for someone else every day. That really made me think. Why wasn’t I asking all of my kids that every day? Why wasn’t I asking myself that?
So thanks to my daughter’s suggestion, I have decided to add that question to the questions I ask my kids when they get home. Middle school and high school are so hard and it is really easy to have your world revolve around how people are treating you and what people think of you. Looking for ways to serve someone else every day helps to change that focus. Plus, like my daughter says, you make new friends too.
Ideas for simple service our kids can do each day so they can answer the question, “What did you do for someone today?”:
- Smile at someone who looks sad.
- Say hi to someone you don’t know.
- Invite someone who is alone to eat lunch with you and your friends.
- Give a sincere compliment.
- Say thank you to a teacher, librarian etc.
- Give someone a simple, kind note.
- Open the door or hold the door for someone.
- Help a sibling clean their room.
- Help a neighbor with their yard (shovel snow, rake leaves, pull weeds etc.)
- Offer to do an extra chore at home.
There is an epidemic in our society of being self centered and focusing on how everything makes us feel. The people in my life that are really happy are those who spend their time focusing on how they make others feel instead. I want my kids to be happy, so I will be asking them the question, “What did you do for someone today?” I will also try to do something for someone else each day so I will be ready when they ask me.