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Challenge: Raising Kind Kids

Random Acts of Kindness, Potato Chips and More Grace, Please

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Random Acts of Kindness

Sometimes kindness is risky.

I was reminded of this truth last Christmas when my family spent an evening surprising others with Random Acts of Christmas Kindness.

Random Acts of Kindness

We had a blast leaving little gifts and treasures to be found around town. I loved watching my kids take delight in giving, but I was surprised at something else that I began to feel. Something I didn’t expect.

I was prepared for the experience to be fun – joyful even.

And it most definitely was.

What I did not expect was this stirring in my heart that did not resemble joy.

It started when my husband and I were discussing who the recipient should be of the grocery store gift card that we had just purchased. We scanned the store, carefully analyzing who looked like they could use some Christmas joy – trying not to make eye contact.

We considered the woman behind the deli counter. She looked like a hard worker. But what if our surprise wasn’t as exciting to her as we hoped? What if she just thought we were weird when we walked up to the counter and handed her our gift??

Random Acts of Kindness

Then, as my sons placed their quarters in the gum ball machine, I loved picturing the face of a little one – delighted to find this hidden treasure. But then – what if there was actually a temper tantrum involved and our surprise was just another win for a spoiled child? That’s not nearly as much fun to picture.

This feeling that stirred in me was not one of kindness. It was more like fear.

I worried that our gifts would find themselves in the hands of the wrong person. Someone who wouldn’t value them like we hoped.

Random Acts of KindnessAnd, then there was the chance that whoever happened upon our gift of quarters in the laundry room might seize the opportunity and leave none behind for others.

What if those who were meant to be offered a little HOPE this Christmas, instead took advantage of an opportunity meant to be shared with others?

What if our gifts were not received with gratitude?

What if?

Years ago, my son – then 5 years old – asked for some potato chips after we had finished a meal – even though he hadn’t finished his dinner. That night, for whatever reason, I chose to make an exception to the norm and allow him to eat the chips.

I decided that I could turn this unusual situation into a teachable moment. So I said, “Griffin, do you know what this is called, when you are given something you didn’t really deserve? It’s called grace.”

Griffin nodded, then proceeded to enjoy every last crumb of the chips. When he was done, he turned his blue eyes up to me and said sweetly, “More grace please!”

Isn’t that how we all feel about grace? One serving just isn’t enough.

Truth be told – I am served up heapings of grace every day. I am surrounded by good things that I did nothing to deserve and so often take for granted.


Loving and supportive family and friends.

More grace please.

Good health.

More grace please.

Enough money to put some gifts under the tree.

More grace please.

Clean running water, a roof over my head and no fear of where the next meal will come.

More grace please.

The beauty of yet another sunset.

More grace please.

Dear reader – I gobble up grace each day like it’s the whole bag of chips, lick my fingers clean and rarely remember that it is just that.

Grace. A gift.

By definition, a gift is something that has not been earned. That is indeed risky. Possibly even wasteful.

And giving without expectation of anything in return is even riskier, whether the recipient is a complete stranger or our own family member.

It’s true - our gifts might just find themselves in the hands of someone who might not value them as we hoped.

But what’s the alternative? Giving because you expect to receive something in return is simply a calculated transaction that just brings continued obligation.

That’s not the kind of Giver I want to be. I want to give joyfully and not for the benefit that I receive from it.

I want to pass that kind of Giving down to my children. I want them to know the Joy of Giving without expecting anything in return. I want them to be risky with their kindness.

Christmas offers us that kind of opportunity - if we choose grace.

This kind of giving starts with offering yourself kindness first. Go ahead. Start there. Enjoy every last crumb of grace that you've received.

Then sit back in child-like wonder as you find yourself passing on kindness, hope, and more grace, please to others - and watch your children do the same.

What if?

Just think of the possibilities.

This excerpt is taken from Kaley's eBook The Merry Little Christmas Project - Five Words that will Transform your Christmas - written for those who are looking for a simpler, more joyful Christmas. As a #1 Bestseller on Amazon, the book offers encouragement and inspiration. Click here to learn more and join The Merry Little Christmas Project on Facebook:

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