Thank you all so much for the comments on Monday’s post (The Great Candy Dilemma). Your interest truly warmed my heart and I was so pleased to see a few new commenters. Thank you!
It is funny how something so small as a comment from a reader can really make a blogger’s day, and I am sure all bloggers would agree. In cyberspace, a comment can be like a handshake, a pat on the back, even a hug. It makes me happy to know that I have reached someone and they have reached back.
Before I get all mushy and sentimental here, I’d better get to my point. A comment makes me happy. When I am happy, I make my kids happy. They then make their teachers and class mates happy, etc. etc. etc. Pay it forward. Good karma. What goes around, comes around. Whatever you call it, it is a fact of life, and one that I would like my children to learn.
My pleasure from all your virtual hugs and handshakes reminded me of a few books that we have that help kids understand the whole “pay it forward” idea.
First is a book for little ones called Love and Kisses.
I read this to the baby tonight, it is one of her favorites although she is probably too young to “get” the deeper meaning. I bought it in board book format when my now seven year-old was a baby, and it has held up really well even after being loved by three children.
The story begins with a little girl blowing a kiss to her cat, “Blow a kiss and let it go. You never know how love will grow!” On the next page, we see the little girl kissing her cat again. On the following page the cat kisses a cow, who kisses a “giggling goose,” who kisses a fish, etc. etc. You get the idea. The kiss passes through a variety of very sweetly illustrated animals and ultimately ends up where?? Yes of course! Back to the cat, then to the girl. The last two pages say: “Kisses! Kisses! Smooch and smack! You’ll have your love and kisses back!”
This is such a happy little book. Even though the message is profound, it still makes for a happy, uplifting bedtime read that toddlers can enjoy. The text is a melodic rhyme and the illustrations are really cute and funny.
The book comes new in a board book or paperback format (both are eligible for Amazon’s 4-for-3 promotion), or you can find used hardcovers. I personally recommend the board book version since mine has lasted forever, and toddlers really like this book!
This book tells the story of little boy Brian who woke up one day and decided to run into the kitchen and give his Mom a big hug and kiss, and tell her he loved her. Of course, “Brian’s mother felt loved and appreciated” and made Brain and his sister Joanna their favorite breakfast. So, at school, Joanna helps her teacher, who then does something nice for the new principal, who was so happy, that she was lenient with a misbehaving student and so on, and so on.
Of course, after passing through many different people in Brian’s town, the kindness eventually ends up with a police officer who catches Brian’s Dad speeding, but because she is feeling “supported and honored,” she gives him a warning instead of a ticket. Brian’s Dad, feeling “grateful and relieved” reads an extra long time with Brain before bed. That made Brain feel “loved and treasured” so he had pleasant dreams, slept well, and awoke feeling great. He then ran to the kitchen to give his mother a hug!!
As you can glean from my summary, not only does the book teach the concept of karma very simply and plainly, but it is also provides a wonderful opportunity to discuss feelings. Each character feels differently (in a positive way) after being the recipient of a thoughtful deed. A discussion of words like “valued,” “accepted,” “respected,” or “honored” can really enhance a child’s understanding of the many nuances of positive emotions.
The illustrations consist of quite life-like watercolors that nicely depict the scenes of daily life that accompany the text.
OK, I promised books, but this is not a book. It is a set of cards. “Santa” left these cool cards in my oldest daughter’s stocking last Christmas. For a long time we were doing one of these every morning and a Sweet Dreams Card every night before bed. While the Sweet Dreams Cards are still a “must” before bed, the Karma Cards have fallen a bit by the wayside lately, perhaps due to our hectic morning schedule (ie. Mom isn’t a Morning Person). Well, we rediscovered them during a room cleaning and my daughter is “into them” again!
I am not a baby flashcard sort of mom, but for the right child, these cards seem to be a fun way to teach the pleasures of positive actions. Since my daughter is so hooked on the <Sweet Dreams: 36 Bedtime Wishes, these work for her.
The idea is that a child chooses one of the 25 cards and does what the card says at some point during the day. Some examples are: “Choose one of your toys to donate to a charity,” and: “Find a penny dated the year of your birth and give it away to someone special.” Most of the cards spread kindness to others, or help you feel better about yourself. Several are merely useful in a more practical sense, such as practicing a family fire drill, or learning the words to your national anthem.
In case you feel like you could use a little karmic nudge yourself, there are also Karma Cards for adults with a variety of themes (including Karma Coaching Cards Environment (Karma Coaching Cards) – that is my personal area of deficiency and guilt). Karma Cards are recommended for children ages 5 and up – with adult supervision.
(2016 update: These are still available but only used)