Start the School Year by Taking “The Pledge”

My World PledgeI can’t believe the first day of school is only 2 days away! 48 hours, 2,880 minutes, 172,800 seconds… do you think I might be counting?!

I was lying in bed last night thinking about what my hopes are for each of my children this coming school year.  In addition to personal and emotional growth, and all things academic, my hopes include that they be good (good scholars, good friends, good citizens), kind, compassionate, respectful and celebratory of differences they might recognize in their classmates and peers.  And, hopefully, they’ll be the recipients of similar behaviors.

Earlier this year I introduced you to the “My World Friends Pledge”.  I think this is a great way for all of our kids to start off the school year.  You can find the Pledge at myworldmedia.net.  Imagine how different our world would be if everyone lived by the Pledge!

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be talking more about The Pledge and how these important topics can be woven into daily, light-hearted conversation with your children.

Until then… be kind to one another!

The Pledge – Part 8: Love and Compassion

My World PledgeWow!  It’s hard to believe we’ve reached the last verse of the My World Friends Pledge!  When broken down line by line, you can easily see that the collective impact of small gestures and behaviors can be quite powerful.

Today we’re looking at “Living with Love and Compassion in our Hearts.”  I believe compassion to be one of the few things we can practice that will bring immediate and long-term happiness to our lives. Compassionate acts are generally considered those which take into account the suffering of others and attempt to alleviate that suffering as if it were one’s own. In this sense, the various forms of the Golden Rule are clearly based on the concept of compassion. As adults we can quickly give everyday examples of what compassion might look like, but the ideas and examples that inspire kids are often much simpler.

Here are some great examples you can use to assist your kids in identifying ways that they can naturally show love and compassion:

  • Sending your friend a get well card – Compassion
  • Helping a classmate clean-up a work area that they’re responsible for so that they still have time to participate in recess – Compassion
  • Sharing your ice cream with a friend because they dropped theirs on the ground – Compassion
  • Offering to walk an elderly neighbors dog – Compassion
  • Picking out a special treat for your sibling at the grocery store because you know it will make their day – Love
  • Creating a special, homemade banner or card to welcome a family member back into your home – Love
  • Praying for a friend or family member when they’re injured, sick or just simply feeling down – Love

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
~ Dalai Lama ~

I can’t wait to hear about all the ways that you and your kids have been living “The Pledge”.  I strongly believe that small steps in this direction can change our world!  If you are Living with Love and Compassion in your Heart please share with us how it’s impacted your life and the lives of others.

Next week I’ll begin talking about the concept of “intent versus impact” .  This will prove to be a great tool in guiding our kids to think before they act/speak and therefore, assist them in making better, kinder choices.

In gratitude,
Renee

The Pledge – Part 7: Be Trustworthy

My World PledgeAs we continue to navigate our way through the My World Friends Pledge, today we focus on being Trustworthy.

As parents I can’t think of many qualities that we want to develop more in our children.  Knowing that your child is telling you the truth gives great comfort, especially as they get older and are given a longer leash and increasing levels of independence.  We can talk about the importance of being trustworthy endlessly as parents, and sadly, we probably all have plenty of examples where we can site a lack of trustworthiness in a friend, classmate, teammate or even a family member, and easily recall the negative impact it had on our lives.  But, what do your kids think about the importance of being trustworthy?

We’ve talked in the past about ways to start conversations with your kids on tough topics and the importance of talking to them openly and regularly about everyday life situations and events.  Here are a few questions you can ask to get the conversation on trust started:

  • What does being trustworthy means to you?
  • What does the word integrity mean to you?
  • Do you think you are a loyal person?
  • Are you good at keeping secrets?  Would your friends say you’re good at keeping secrets?
  • How do you know when you can trust someone?
  • If trust is broken, what are some ways you think it might be earned back?
  • What does being trustworthy have to do with the quality of your character?
  • Do you think you’ve ever been lied to by a friend or family member?  If so, how did it make you feel?
  • What are the benefits of being a trustworthy person? How do you benefit from the trustworthiness of others?

Our kids never want to disappoint us, although clearly sometimes they do.  I believe that if you talk to your kids about the importance of trust and why it’s essential that they are perceived to be a trustworthy person, they will think twice about being dishonest or putting themselves in a position of distrust. And remember, holding kids accountable for bad, dishonest choices is the most important part of the process… if they don’t feel like there will be consequences for bad choices, what will be their motivation to stop making them?

I can’t wait to hear how your “trust talks” go. Please share!

In gratitude,
Renee

The Pledge – Part 6: Taking Care of our Planet

My World PledgeAs we continue to navigate the My World Friends Pledge, today we focus on ways that Kids can “Help Take Care of our Planet.”

Are you raising eco-savvy children?  Caring for our planet has been a much talked about topic in recent years and one that your child should be familiar with.  From composting to conservation there are many ways for your child to contribute to the longevity of our planet.

Here are some behaviors you can model and promote that will set them on their way:

  • Recycle everything possible!
  • Turn the water off when brushing teeth – constantly look for ways to conserve water.
  • Composting – not only does this help take care of our planet but it’s a great way to promote responsibility.
  • Turn off & unplug! Computers, small kitchen appliances and chargers are great places to start.
  • Minimize the use of disposable items. Plastic water bottles (use refillable containers), paper plates and paper towels; use eco-friendly grocery bags.
  • Ride your bike if your destination is close and casual.
  • Carpool when possible.
  • Set a good example within your community and spread the word!

Check out this link to an article on eartheasy.com that highlights fun and appropriate environmental websites for kids.  Eartheasy is a site I love that promotes solutions for sustainable living.

And mark your calendars… April 22nd is Earth Day!  Be proactive and plan an activity for your family or identify a local event to participate in.  The more our children learn about taking care of our planet, the more sustainable we’ll become.

Enjoy Earth.  Enjoy your environment.  Enjoy each other!

In gratitude,
Renee

The Pledge – Part 5: Be Kind to Animals

My World PledgeAs we continue to break down the My World Friends Pledge, today we look at being kind to animals.

While this may strike some as oddly specific, when it comes to children their treatment of and expression towards animals is very indicative of their overall attitude and behavior towards mankind.

While not every household can accommodate a pet, we should all try to expose our kids to animals on a regular basis… pet stores, shelters and zoos are all wonderful options.  Pet ownership is generally one of the first ways your child will be given the opportunity to be the “caregiver” and learn the importance of kind, nurturing behavior.  Here are some reasons that animals and pets are great for kids:

  • Caring for a pet/animal will foster kind and gentle behavior.
  • Animals are easy to show affection towards.
  • Pets promote a healthier and more active lifestyle within children.
  • Pets encourage time outdoors enjoying nature.
  • Pet-related chores promote responsibility and accountability.
  • Caring for an animal nurtures empathy in a child.
  • Pets calm anxious children and help quiet children come out of their shells.

So, are you a pet paw-sitive family?  If not, now might be a good time to reevaluate!  Shelters are a great place to find a family pet… after all, rescuing an animal is a teachable opportunity for kids.  And you never know, you may be the one being rescued!

Be kind to one another… and the animals!

In gratitude,
Renee

The Pledge – Part 4: Being Good

My World PledgeIn general, the word “good” is used in a positive way. In fact, it’s definition contains the word “positive”.

Good: adjective. Being positive or desirable in nature; not bad or poor.

For the purposes of continuing to break-down and discuss The Pledge, this week we are focused specifically on being “a good child, a good sibling and a good friend”. Think about the concept of “being good” in a broad sense and identify some ways that you can guide your kids towards consistently “good” behavior and making consistently “good” choices.

Here some things that my 9 year old daughter came up with when we talked about being good, and specifically being a good child, a good sibling and a good friend:

A Good Child is:
A good listener
Respectful
Honest
Trustworthy
Kind
Caring to friends and family members

A Good Sibling is:
Helpful
Patient
Loving
Sets a good example

A Good Friend is:
Loyal
Honest
Supportive
Inclusive
Kind
Caring
Someone who works at creating a friendly environment

So sit down with your kids and make your own lists!  Get them thinking about ways to be a better sibling and friend.  You never know, along the way you may learn some things about yourself and ways you can be better, too!   It’s never too late to begin being a better person.  We always have room for improvement in this area :)

Have a GOOD weekend!

In Gratitude,
Renee

The Pledge – Part 3: Treat Everyone with Respect

My World PledgeIn our 3rd week of examining and breaking down The Pledge we’re focusing on “Respect”.  As we guide our children towards “living the pledge”, respect is clearly our foundation.  In fact, as one of the 5 pillars of character, if respect is consistently demonstrated, most, if not all, of the undesirable behaviors we’re striving to avoid/eliminate  simply never happen.

Here are some questions to assist in starting a conversation with your child(ren) about respect:

  • What does the word respect mean to you?
  • Have you ever felt like someone didn’t respect you, themselves, or others?
  • Have you ever seen somebody else not being treated respectfully, and if so, how did it make you feel?
  • Why do you think it’s important to treat everyone with respect?
  • Do you feel respected by all of your family members, care givers, and teachers?

Do you recall our previous dialogue on learned behavior? It really comes into play here… if you speak to your children with respect and treat them with respect, it is likely that that’s how they’ll treat and speak to you and others. If we have ongoing, open and respectful conversations with our children, they will openly and respectfully share more with us. It’s a two-way street!

Next up, “Good”. Specifically, being a good child, a good sibling, and a good friend.

Until then…

In Gratitude,
Renee