My post a few days ago about speaking kindly to each other got me noticing how rude my children have become with each other lately. Little things like saying, “duh” after someone speaks, telling someone to shut-up, the rolling of the eyes, or generally just not being kind to each other.
And as much I have tried screaming at that them to “BE NICE ALREADY!” It just doesn’t seem to have the desired efect.
And so I have invented the kindness jar.
It is filled with candy. Everytime someone is rude or nasty to someone else, I take a candy out of the jar. If I catch them being spontaneously nice to each other with no thought of their own gain, I’ll put a candy back in the jar.
At the end of the day I divide whatever candy is remaining up among the children.
The back of the jar has a little tag that says: Because you can never be TOO NICE.
A few years ago I did something similar for behavior modification, but all the children had their own little jar. It worked okay for awhile but was one of those things that fall by the wayside once the good behavior has become a habit. And really that is the long term goal, making the positive behavior a habit that doesn’t need any external reward or motivator.
This time I decided that we needed a collective jar because I want them to be kind to each other as a team. I don’t want one person provoking another person when I am not around to hear. I don’t want to hear tattling about so and so being mean. I want them to both be kind and inspire kindness in each other. I want them to be nice in words and deeds.
If one person is having a bad day I want them to begin thinking about how they can help that person have a better day. I want them to think about what kindness can they show that person that will inspire kindness in return. Kindness begets kindness, afterall.
Will it work? I have faith in my children. I believe they want to be nice. Sometimes I think they forget this and get wrapped up in their own selfishness. Isn’t that why the Random Acts of Kindness movement worked so well? Putting a little kindness out into the world inspires others to do the same. And so we are starting small, in our own house, and hopefully it will radiate our from here.
If not, I’ll be hiding in the pantry, eating my way through a 5 pound bag of Skittles.