Student’s demonstrate doing good for others

word of month character

Talking to our students and children about subjects that may seem difficult for them to understand is an important concept in starting early.  I have found that the subjects that I was not sure was really getting through to the students would come back later, with them speaking of them with authority. 

A couple of months ago we talked about ‘CHARITY’.  Days, weeks and now months later our students are still finding ways to demonstrate that they understand the concept of charity.  Here is a student and his younger brother who have taken charity seriously and brought in their shoes that they have outgrown for Souls 4 Soles. 

Souls 4 Soles is an organization that collects shoes for those millions of individuals around the world that do not have them.  Some of the shoes are slightly used, some are brand new and supplied by manufacturers from around the world.  Balanced Life Skills started our relationship with them through the efforts of Brian Williams and the Think Kindness organization. 

Along with Balanced Life Skills, several high schools from the area have supplied over $10,000.00 to help pay for the delivery of shoes around the world along with over 10,000 pairs of shoes.  Teaching our children young to be concerned about their neighbors in the world, and to grow in their desire to give to those in need.

 



Christmas Jar project

word of month character

I have been moved by the stories I have heard this season about the use of the ‘Christmas Jar’ by families in communties around the United States.  I would like to propose that we start our own tradition at Balanced Life Skills with all of our classes.  The concept teaches a number of lessons that are valuable for all of us.

One lesson is how a little bit of action on a daily basis adds up to a total that yields great results.

Second lesson I draw from this is an awareness we can develop of the needs of our neighbors and the satisfaction we gain by taking action to be kind to others.

Third lesson is taking a moment each day to contemplate what we are grateful for that day.  I would suggest that taking a moment to consider all we have to be thankful for would reduce the desire we have for wanting more. 

I added a page to our site – Christmas Jar Project.  If anyone in our community would like to join in this project please do so on a personal level or with us.  What a great way of practicing kindness.

Setting priorities keeps us dependable

word of month character

We have talked before about all of the things that we have to do and of course there are all of the thing that we want to do.  I am 55 years old and I still like to do the ‘want to do’s’ before the things that have real priority in my life.  

When we look at priority items they are generally things that affect other people, many times those who are the closest to us.  As a young person though it was easy for me to think that it did not matter, or that I just did not want to do this or that now and could see  no reason to do so.  How do we help our students think beyond that thought?

First: Help them to list all of the things that are on their plate.  School work, work at home for the family, friends and of course their own fun things to do.  Then give each item a priority label.  You can use something as simple as High, Medium or Low – A, B, C or if they are young a color code.

Second:  Discuss how each item has an affect on other people when they complete them or choose not to complete them.  The higher the priority the more affect it has on others and them as individuals.  This is all about recognizing the perspective of dependability.  You may even discuss how your actions affect them personally.  

Third:  Give examples of those in your family or people in history who kept their word and demonstrated dependability.  Many times the story is better than the lecture or just your desire for them to act in a certain way.

Fourth:  One of the things you will hear me say over and over again is that “we do the right thing because it is the right thing to do”.  I so believe this that I do not believe in bribing a child to do the right thing or dependable thing.  While we can help them think through what the consequences might be for making a bad choice, do not bail them out from choosing to act in an undependable way.  

If they do not tell you about the science project the night before it is due allow them to suffer the consequences.  If they leave their bike out in the rain – let the natural consequence take place.   These are awesome teaching moments – even if it is hard for us as parents to see it happen to them.

One final story.  We have 4 children and have promised all of them to pay for 4 years of college (none of this 5 & 6 year plans) and 6 months of living expenses after they get out of college.  After that, they are on their own.  You can imagine how when the first one got to the 6 month period and wanted more support – it was hard to stick to our commitment.  And it was our only girl, that made it that much harder.  But in the end she figured it out – she got through it and is doing very well today.   This was not just a great lesson for her but for the 3 boys that followed.  Believe me they all knew that we were committed to our word.  We could be depended on both for the good and the “Oh that hurts”.  

In the end the best way to teach dependability is to demonstrate it – even when it is challenging to do so.

Compassion

word of month character

Young students:

“I want to help you feel better.”

Older students, teens, adults:

Compassion is the desire to ease the pain and suffering of others.