Thankfulness doesn’t always come easy. Not for kids and not even for adults. We were recently at my parent’s house when Royal (7) told my mom he was going to take a stack of quarters on his table. He didn’t ask or say please. He just said “I’m taking those quarters”.
And if I’m being completely honest, he was a bit upset when my mom said no.
He obviously had a lapse in judgment and was not feeling thankful for everyone he already had at that moment. The funny thing is, had he asked for a quarter nicely, she probably would have given him one.
Now is as good a time as any to practice our thankfulness and work on remembering that we have plenty for feel thankful for.
November is month often reserved to give thanks. To what? Anything and everything! Many people do a thankfulness challenge by thinking of something to be thankful for every day for the entire month. Others try to perform random acts of kindness to show their thanks in an outward way. I personally think both are great options because it helps to remind ourselves of what we have that makes us happy and thankful and also share that with other people.
Random acts of kindness are also great because they spread happiness! And I think it helps us to learn how nice it feels to help someone else. Some people are naturally more generous and others have to learn it, but I think overall, pretty much everyone feels better when helping others.
But how do we incorporate random acts of kindness in a normal homeschool day? We try not to just do RAKs in November but do them year round. Spreading our love throughout the year is just as important. So choosing RAK’s that don’t take up a lot of time are important because we don’t have a lot of extra time.
How we Quickly Help the Homeless
The biggest way we help is by handing out water. We live in a desert and, especially in the hot summer months, we worry for our homeless population. The same people stand on the same corners day after day. We try to keep some water or gatorade with us so we can hand it out to them. This is a quick act of kindness that takes little to no time to do. We already have water with us and handing it to them takes a second!
We haven’t had a chance to make “homeless bags” yet but that is our next goal. We intend to fill bags with things homeless people often need like socks, feminine products, and a gift card to a nearby fast food restaurant or convenience store. It may take a bit longer to get this set up, but handing them out will be quick and easy.
Fast Way to Improve Someone’s Day
For a less expensive option – compliments! RAK’s don’t always have to involve giving something to someone else. I think RAK’s are anything we can do that is kind for someone else. So I’ve made it my goal to give people compliments!
Have you ever had someone stop you to tell you your shirt is adorable? Or that your kids are so sweet? It’s a quick comment but those compliments can really brighten our day!
I’m constantly noticing someone with an especially gorgeous smile – now I want to tell them. They may be embarrassed initially, so make a quick exit! But they’ll remember those comments.
Pick It Up
We are trash collectors. Although, we don’t do it often enough. Living so close to a hiking center, we go on walks a lot. I try to bring plastic bags with me when I can so we can collect the litter.
I think collecting trash on the side of the road is beneficial for two reasons. First, as a member of this community we have an obligation to keeping it nice.
Secondly, I don’t want the boys to think they are somehow above having to pick up trash.
Keeping the Random in RAK
Part of RAK is that they are random and I think this aspect shouldn’t be overlooked. Kindness and helping are great and wonderful. But random acts of kindness are different.
In my opinion, the beauty of RAK are how unexpected they generally are. It’s the teenager helping an old woman across the street. That’s so cliche, but it illustrates the point.
Don’t try to overplan your RAKs. Don’t seek out the moments in which you can help. Just be observant to the people around you and step in when you can! We often end up seeing people are the park on our homeschool park days.
Don’t Forget The Special People
I see many ideas for helping strangers but don’t forget your friends and family! Yes, RAK can apply to your friends and family, too! Make someones day by doing something extra special for them.
Bake their favorite cookies
Drop off a “Thinking of You” card
Clear off the bathroom counter that your husband uses
We don’t have to wait for a special day to treat those we love! Take your kids out for ice cream in the middle of their homeschool day! Or cancel all lesson plans and do something special for a friend or family member!
Keep it in Perspective
When I first started trying to make an effort towards helping others regularly, it was exhausting. I was constantly searching for someone to help. What I realized was sometimes there are opportunities and sometimes there aren’t. The important part is being aware and not being afraid to speak up.
Do you incorporate RAKs into your homeschooling?