My childhood friend and I loved word play (no surprise that we’re both professional writers). One game we made up and really enjoyed involved gifts and thank-you notes. Here’s how it went: Lovely gift was given and gratefully received. Lovely thank-you note written… promptly (Thanks for the training, Mom!) and gratefully received. But that wasn’t the end of it. Nope. Just the beginning.
Following my “Dear Joan, Thank you for the birthday gift. Love, Annie” I got a note from her: “Dear Annie, Thank you for the thank-you note, thanking me for your birthday gift. Love, Joan.”
To which I would reply: “Dear Joan, Thank you for the thank-you note, thanking me for the thank-you note thanking you for the birthday gift. Love, Annie.”
And so it went until we lost ourselves in a maze of verbal logic, laughed our heads off and called it quits… until next time.
Thank-you notes and all words of appreciation soften our hearts toward one another and make us more inclined to be kind and respectful, which is what this month’s Kindness and Respect Challenge is all about.
Yesterday I took a hike with the Pupster. We didn’t encounter any deer (stand-offish or otherwise), just a magnificent trail, bracketed by eucalyptus trees, climbing from the valley to the ridge with its stunner views of mountain, bridges and city by the bay.
Grateful to have this as my “backyard,” I’m happy pick up any stray litter to show my respect for the land. Being on the trail yesterday (and always) puts me in a kind and generous mood toward every person and dog I meet along the way. Appreciation can do that.
To increase your children’s awareness of the connection between appreciation, kindness and respect call a family meeting. You might start off the discussion by saying: Everyone likes to feel appreciated. But sometimes we get lazy and/or we forget. There are many ways to show appreciation. Saying “Thank you” is one. What are some others?
1. BRAINSTORM – Make a list. Think of some of the helpful, kind, generous and loving things that family members do for each other.
2. EMPHASIZE: When people are kind, generous, caring, helpful to us we should we let them know that we appreciate them.
3. ASK: How does each person in the family typically show his/her appreciation?
4. Take it into the Real World Challenge: During this weekend, focus on what you’re thankful for and find ways to show the people in your family that you love and appreciate them.
I’d love to hear your comments, especially if you try this with your kids.