The Kindness Tree

Not the Giving Tree.  I hate that book.  It’s suppose to be a parent’s undying love and constant giving to a child.  No, that kid is a selfish brat.  I want to say he never says thank you, but I’m not sure.  I can’t remember.  He does kill the tree, so a thank you would be a little short of adequate.

I have created a The Kindness Tree.  A few months back, I noticed something about Tornado E.  That kid is a bit self-centered.  In my opinion, he’s more self-centered than he should be at this age.  I needed something to help him think beyond himself.  I needed something simple and easy, something fun that he would want to do.  I was thinking of community projects or helping out with organizations.  But everything seemed too old for him.

I needed something with a reward.  I needed something that would excite him and motivate him until kindness motivated him.  But not a reward that was toys or money or food.  I didn’t want this to become mercenary.  I needed something I could monitor and guide.

The Kindness Tree.  Every kind deed he does, he will put a leaf on a branch, growing the tree.  I would write the kind deed on a leaf and hang it on the tree.  Then one day a beautiful tree would stand as a monument to good deeds.

At first I was going to draw a giant tree with branches and draw leaves to put on it.  But then I stopped at a teaching supply store and found a cut out tree with branches with leaves to add.  I bought another package of extra leaves.  I hung the whole thing up in their room with wall putty.  The tree stands about 5 feet high all cartoonish and cute.

I explained the plan to Tornado E who reluctantly agreed.  Tornado S overheard and enthusiastically agreed.  Tornado E got more enthusiastic.

And it didn’t go well at first.  Tornado E kept forgetting to do a kind deed.  Tornado S kept doing a bunch.  But then I caught Tornado E reading to Tornado A, and I ran and got a leaf.  Tornado E was so proud.  He started to remember to do more things.

On a perfect night, after reading and before prayers, the boys tell me about their good deeds.  Even Tornado A tries to do something kind to get a leaf.  Even friends who have been over for playdates try to get leaves.  Sure, some days no one gets a leaf, but we’re trying.  We’re growing a Kindness Tree.

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4 Responses to “The Kindness Tree”

  1. Court Says:

    Aw, so sweet. Reminds me of Ann Voskamp’s thankful book.. 1,000 gifts, practicing giving thanks does grow you up good like a big tree of love to be shade for others.

  2. Teaching Empathy | Faemom Says:

    […] and he’s not suppose to, but I think he lacks more than he should.  So I came up with the Kindness Tree.  I’m still learning from other […]

  3. Raising Good Guys | Faemom Says:

    […] day I pray for help to raise my boys to become Good Guys.  We have the Kindness Tree.  I remind them the family motto is “Built to Survive the Unusual.”  And that to […]

  4. Water Heaters Says:

    Very great post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wished to mention that I’ve truly loved surfing around your weblog posts.
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