I'm not really sure how I feel about this, but I am pretty sure that I come down on the side of "bad idea," even though as I am re-reading this post, I realize I am not doing a good job of articulating why I feel that way. I just don't think that we ought to teach our kids that kind acts are countable -- or more importantly, that they are supposed to be counted. I much prefer to teach CAM and WHM (and to model for them) that being kind and doing kind things is really our moral obligation as good people (and also as Christians, generally, and as Catholics, specifically). We're supposed to be kind because it's the right thing to do, and there's no need to keep track of how many kind things we do. I like pointing out to the kids when they do things that are particularly thoughtful or kind, recognizing them with positive comments or a hug -- but something about tallying them like this rests uneasy with me. What happens when we fill the jar? Are we done being kind? Do we win a prize?
I think it would be a nicer idea to record all the little things that people do along the way for us, sort-of a thankfulness journal or thankfulness counter. I know, I know -- it is better to give than receive, so keeping a tally of all that we receive is probably counterintuitive, and I am not doing a very good job of explaining why I think it's different; but I do think it's different. There's just something about recording your own good deeds that strikes me as though it's keeping score, and even though the motive might be genuine I just can't get my head or my heart around it. On the other hand, recognizing when someone was kind to you, and consciously noting that you're thankful for that act or gesture -- or non-action or gesture, which is sometimes just as important -- I think is a good lesson on gratefulness and humbleness. It also models for the kids what kindness is and means. And I definitely think that my little two-year-old and four-year-old are old enough to answer the question, "What is one nice thing that someone did for you today?" Even on the crummiest of days I try to do this for myself; why not for and with the kids? It's a good reminder that even on the worst of days we have something to be thankful for.
Am I making sense?
Or am I over-thinking this?
Do any of you keep thankfulness journals or kindness counters? What are your thoughts?