Hey guys! So today we’re going to pick up where we left off last week. In Part 1 we went over some of the best values & habits to teach kids so they grow up to be kind & caring adults. Let’s be honest though, if we relied solely on explaining them, they’d get bored & be gone long before we even got halfway through our talk on the importance of patience. Gotta love the irony though, right? Lol!😂 So as an added bonus, we also discussed different ways to make teaching them more fun & engaging by turning them into games & challenges. If you haven’t read Gamifying Kindness: Raising Kids Who Care Part 1, feel free to do so now.
I actually got the idea from this Parents.com article. I didn’t agree with all of it, had a different perspective on some points, wanted to go into more detail on many & had things to add. As per usual though, the site was an invaluable resource for finding the latest parenting research, ideas & methods. Whether I agree or not, it reminds me of something, or they spark a tangential thought that leads to an entirely new idea, it never fails to get my creative juices flowing. But I digress…
Speaking of my tendency to digress, go off on endless tangents & just plain talk too much, that’s how this became a series. I set out to write 1 article sharing my thoughts on raising caring kids & the idea of gamifying morals, ethics, & values. That quickly turned into 5 notebook pages (2 & 1/2 pages front & back) & I wasn’t even finished, I ran out of time!
Last week’s thousand-word article was only a few lines over 1 page, front & back, so we still have plenty to cover. I just personally believe this is a really important topic so I wanted to make sure I do it justice. Once again, I’m counting on you appreciating my thorough approach rather than finding me tedious. Either way, let me know in the comment section so I act accordingly. Well, I’ve been rambling for quite a while, again, so let’s just jump in before I have a thousand words of just intro, shall we?😂
Gamifying Kindness: Teaching Honesty
We all have times when we feel like maybe lying isn’t so bad & we make excuses for why this time it’s okay but other times it isn’t. Maybe we’re right, but as adults, we can understand the nuance involved in conditional honesty & understand possible consequences for our actions. Children, on the other hand, have a hard time with both. Since some begin lying as early as 2, usually out of fear of potential consequences, it’s probably best to teach that honesty is always the best policy until they’re old enough to judge situations for themselves.
First, we need them to understand what lying is. The most commonly agreed-upon definition I could find is that lying is telling someone something you know isn’t true. Some people like to include not saying something &/or misleading people (lies of omission). This Parents.com article suggests a simple exercise of making statements & asking if they’re the truth or a lie. For example, you could pick up a blue pen and say, “This pen is red. Is that the truth or a lie?”
Once they can clearly tell the difference, I’d also suggest teaching why lying is bad. I’m of the belief that it’s better to teach kids how to think rather than what to think. If we simply tell kids lying is bad without giving good reasons, not only does that make them more likely to do it anyway because they don’t understand why it’s wrong, but it also limits their ability to tell right from wrong in the future. If they only know which things you said were wrong than when faced with a moral question in the future that you haven’t discussed, they’ll have no criteria on which to judge it. This could lead them to think that since it’s not on your list of things that are wrong, it must be okay.
So give some clear examples of reasons you think lying is bad. Many people feel that lying is bad because it diminishes trust. Others think that telling people something that isn’t true limits their ability to make their own decisions because they don’t have the correct information. There are a lot of different schools of thought on why it’s wrong, so explain your reasoning to them & be as clear as possible.
This Work “Gamifying Kindness: Make A Game Of It“, Is A Derivative Of “Philippe Kahn Jeopardy“ By Arthbkins, Used Under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported. Changes Made: “Learning Is Fun” Graphic, Progress Bar, Banner, Text, & All Other Graphics, Illustrations, & Text Were Added By Alex Bell Over The Background Of The Image, “Philippe Kahn Jeopardy” By Arthbkins. “Gamifying Kindness: Make A Game Of It” Is Licensed Under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported By Alex Bell.
Then, you might want to solidify it by going through some scenarios with them. Ask them how they’d feel if you told them they were having cake for dinner but instead you served broccoli & brussel sprouts. Then ask if they’d be more likely, just as likely, or less likely to believe things you say in the future. Talk about possible consequences of lying like maybe if you lied to them about what’s for dinner, when you tell them that something’s dangerous, they won’t know if they should believe you & they could get hurt.
Also, lies weaken relationships because the less trust there is, the less the relationship can be depended on. You can mention the story of the boy who cried wolf to explain an example of being less & less believable the more you lie & what could happen. You might also want to cover the topic of white lies because many people find this to be a difficult area. You can do the same thing here by asking different questions.
Ask them if it would be okay if a friend of yours lied to you when you asked if you look good in a specific outfit or if your makeup looks nice because they didn’t want to hurt your feelings. If they say yes you can explain that the lie would cause you to go out not looking your best & it deprives you of the opportunity to make changes in your appearance for the better. The same thing goes for getting a gift you don’t like or pretending to enjoy someone’s cooking. Not only will you keep getting the gifts or food that you don’t like, but you & your friends won’t be as close as you would’ve been had you explained what you do like & gotten to know each other well enough that it didn’t happen anymore.
To make it more fun, exciting, & engaging you could come up with a series of questions or scenarios in advance & make it like a game show. You could read the questions more dramatically like a game show host, break them into categories & have them pick one like Jeopardy or have them take turns with a sibling. If they don’t have siblings, you could ask another parent(s) if they’d like to be a part of it & have them compete with friends. You could even assign points or stickers to each right answer. Maybe give different rewards for each amount of points or right answers so it’s more fun for them. Making learning fun is a great way to increase comprehension & retention. For more important lessons that nurture kindness & how to up their fun factor, continue reading Part3!
Until next time…