BIRTHDAY TRADITION TO TEACH KIDS KINDNESS
“Mama you don’t smile very much.”
My first knee-jerk reaction was of course I smile Ayu.
“But you look sad.”
I paused and got present for a moment.
There I was stuck in my mind worried about my book proposal. I honestly wasn’t angry or upset but I wasn’t smiling either.
To an outsider who doesn’t know what I’m thinking about, I may come off as worried or upset.
And here was my sensitive and sweet little Ayaan calling me out on it.
I have this mindful reminder card in my kitchen that says “Peace Begins With me. Peace Begins with A Smile.” but I was forgetting to smile throughout my day.
That’s when I told him. I’m going to make it a point to smile more. And I have.
I am waking up with a smile. Even when I’m working alone in my office I will stop and smile. (Like I’m doing now as a write this sentence).
I made it a point to smile at him for no reason.
And he must have noticed that I’ve been trying harder cause the first time I smiled for no reason he looked at me with suspicion and said “Why are you looking at me like that? 🤦🏽♀️
We may not be angry, or frustrated but have you ever thought what your facial reactions are when you are caught in your head?
How often do you randomly smile?
I became more aware everyone around us seems grumpy, sad, lonely or stressed. I rarely saw people who were just smiling, happy and pleasant. Everyone looked like they were caught in their head.
In India, I love that when it’s your birthday you treat your friends. Unlike the Western world its all about receiving and being treated.
The greatest gift the Universe you have received is your life. Your birthday is a time to honor this gift and give back to others by doing something to inspire and be a blessing to others.
And the easiest way is to go out of our way to make them smile.
So this birthday my friend gave me an idea of writing love notes and handing them out to strangers.
The experience was amazing not just for him but for me too.
It was divine synchronicity we met these amazing people.
We met a therapist who said she will keep his card on her meditation alter, a grandma who randomly started talking about the private school we are on the fence about sending our kids to who will keep the card on her refrigerator and another man who was reading a self-help book said he would keep this as his bookmark and always think of him.
I’m sure every time they see that little note, they will be reminded of Ayaan’s sweet face and smile.
It was such a powerful experience of simple ways of spreading kindness. I was telling Ayaan when you give out kindness it will always be given back to you.
The next day Ayaan noticed a kind thing our gas station attendant said and he came back with free donuts for Ayaan.
Ayaan said he loved handing out the notes that he wants to do it even when it isn’t his birthday.
When we got back to the car he said mommy I loved making people smile.
How can you start this Love Note birthday tradition with your kids
- Cut out sheets- write a small little message. We wrote just a little love note to make you smile. Have your kids decorate it and sign it. – I think giving it a personal touch is meaningful since it shows you spent time on it.
- Go to a local place and have your kids go up to the people. Let them know you are close by and have them pick the people they want to go up to. Tell them to say Hi, my name is _____ and I just wanted to give this love note to you to make you smile.
- The number of love notes you give out is equal to the age of the child. We started at 4 because Ayaan turned 4. My idea is that when he gets to the teens and has 14 to give out, he will make time and think of thoughtful new ways to give it back. More days of giving back means more blessings that will be received.
There you have it.
A simple way to teach children to honor their life by giving kindness back to others on their special day.
Now I’d love to hear from you.
What are some special birthday traditions you have with your kids?
If you try this with your kids, be sure to let me know. Tag me on Instagram at TejalVPatel so I can give you a shout out.
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