Marbles of Kindness

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Shutterstock

A few posts ago I mentioned how lucky we are to learn something from the people that we meet along this path of life. This morning I met Ruth, she is American and her family have been in Kuwait for 16 years. Our conversations with her were wonderful and she was an abundant source of experience and encouragement. The best advice I got this year by far, (yes I know it’s still only January) came from her.

If you have children who struggle with telling on each other, especially when you have more than 2 small ones in the house, (there’s extra chaos and so many more stories to tell mom about), buy a big glass jar. Buy enough marbles to fill this jar. Every time one of the kids tells on a sibling for doing something good or kind, they get to put a marble in the jar. When the jar is filled, the family does something special, like go out bowling or go to the movies.

When I heard this tip, I had one of those “why didn’t I think of that” moments, as it seems so simple, I imagine it to be quite effective. I will most certainly be trying this in my home and I will report back on how it goes. We may open it up to more than just acts of kindness on those desperate days like, “Fine! If you finish your pasta you can put a marble in the jar”. Yup, I can see that happening, but I will do my best to try stick to the plan.

I would encourage you to try it as well and I’d love to know how you find it and if/how it works for your household. In addition, if you have any extra tips to encourage kindness between siblings and less tattle-tailing, I’d love to hear them, please post in the comments below.

Cheers to global parenting, it takes a village after all.

la

Here’s to the Volunteers

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This post is dedicated all those mamas and papas who volunteer on behalf of their children. To those of you coaching little league, helping in classrooms, volunteering with the PTA, and the other countless and thankless tasks, we salute you.

We are huge supporters of our children’s schools and both volunteered at many events thrown by our fearless parent associations. We know first hand how disheartening  negative people can be, especially those who also never seem to step up themselves to help. It can be defeating, frustrating, and just plain sad. It’s in the spirit of cultivating kindness that we had to write this post to say THANK YOU.

Thank you to all of you who have at some point borne the brunt of the naysayers and negative feedback. Who’s hard work and hours spent was ignored by the Monday morning quarterbacks and playground mom-squads.

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We also challenge those of you who have stayed on the sidelines thinking your positive thoughts were known, we encourage you to say something. Tell your people you appreciate them. A little goes a long way, and you never know who may need a little affirmation on the day you cross their path. Their hearts need to be filled up and appreciated and your words of kindness and encouragement will be welcomed!

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Anne Taintor

We also wanted to share our most recent experiences with our respective International Days. Expat communities really know how to host a good International Day! They are colourful, lively, and educational. It is a fantastic day for our kids to share in, and  learn to appreciate, other cultures and countries. It breeds tolerance and acceptance, which we all know this world could use a little more of.

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Funnily enough, we shared similar roles of logistics and graphic designers at our respective schools’ events merely a week apart. There was drama and unintentional hurt feelings, but, for the most part, both events were successful and the children, for which they are ultimately for, had a fantastic time and learned a great deal. That really is all that matters in the end, right? It’s why we volunteer for our little people. For them to have a good time, but also to show them how to serve.

International Day 2017 – Kuwait Style

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International Day 2017 – Tel Aviv Style

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We are all called to serve, in one place or another, and our children need to learn that lesson and look outside themselves, as well as recognize and appreciate the efforts of others. It would be amazing if we could teach our kids that it’s not always what we get out of this world, but it’s what we can give back to it, that matters most.

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So here’s to all of you volunteers.  We are cheering you on and supporting your efforts! A special shout out one of our favorite volunteers and crafty friends, Kate: as always, anything for you friend!

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In the spirit of John F. Kennedy’s famous words, the next time an opportunity to serve comes your way ask not what it can do for you, ask what YOU can do for your others.

Don’t forget to thank a volunteer today, they will really appreciate it!

xoxo,

la-kdg-signature

Raising Arrows

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Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Psalm 127:4

This is one of my favorite verses for this season of life. As a mom of boys (MOB) it is the sweetest honor and the greatest challenge to raise good men and strong arrows. The kind of men that will treat women well, cherish their friendships, speak life into situations, and be diplomatic, as well as strong, in their convictions. The kind of men a father would want his daughter to date and marry. I married one of those men, and my dad is simply one the best!

There is so much we can worry about day to day for all our kids, but establishing their foundation is the one thing we need to focus on. Both of my boys are kind, compassionate, and clever, however they are occasionally prone to whining, brawling, and driving me nuts! That said, at the end of each day I tell them I love them as we cuddle in bed and remind them that we will start again fresh the next day. There is grace in ending even the most miserable days with that routine. It also establishes in their hearts that they are known and loved by us and the one that created them. Their worth is not in what their peers think, how well they did in school, or their successes and failures throughout life.

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Along with a firm foundation of love, it is our job to help them figure out who they are as people. One tool that we are using to help us is the concept of the 5 Love Languages. Wouldn’t it be great to affirm your child in they way the feel loved the most? For example, our oldest receives love through physical touch and words of affirmation, so if we hug him and tell him we are proud of how he reacted to a situation it is a like a 1-2 punch of encouragement!

When he was little he would toddle around decapitating dandelions and bringing them to me saying, “a lion flower for you” and then give me a cuddle. Somehow inside him, he innately knew he should bring the girl he loved a beautiful flower. My husband is a great example of thoughtfulness and on occasion will buy flowers, but not often enough for a tiny boy to be able to pick up on. Looking back on it, we can see his giving love language is gift giving and physical touch.

Once he learned not to pick the flowers, since they are for everyone to appreciate, he started to point them out to me, “Mom look!” He is even keen to go photograph them with me, which he has learned makes my heart happy.

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These days my three year old picks the blossoms of weeds for me and demands I put them in my hair. All at once it makes me laugh, feel loved, and reminisce about the sweet “lion flowers” of years past. That said, he is altogether different. Words of affirmation is his giving and receiving love language, he says, “you’re so beautiful Mom”, and “I’m a cool kid.” ha! The first time he did it I was stunned and literally laughed out loud!

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I don’t ever want them to lose those sweet, innocent, and thoughtful habits so I work hard to reaffirm and praise them. These are moments that make all of the mess worth it. Like a light at the end of the tunnel, I can image each of them telling their wife she is beautiful and bringing her flowers.

Have you figured out your child’s love language? If you have never read about the 5 love languages I encourage you to look into the concept, it could be a game changer in your family’s life!

You can download the FREE Raising Arrows printable here.

lots of love warrior,

kdg

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The Secret Garden

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Tucked away in the neighborhood of  Salmiya in Kuwait, just off Bagdad street, you will find The Secret Garden.

At first glance, it’s a little dusty plot of land sprinkled with colour. But then something magical draws you in.

I went on Sunday morning, with everyone heading to the office, I found myself being wonderfully distracted by the details within this carefully carved out space. There is plenty of parking and it’s really easy to find. This urban community garden took off in 2014 lead by a lady named Mimi.

The garden is a constant work in progress with the community all coming together to plant and grow and keep it alive. It’s an amazing place to teach children about plants and encourage them to participate in growing and looking after their own. With gardening taking place on most Saturdays in the cooler weather it’s a unique Kuwait experience and one that should be taken advantage of before the heat of summer lands on us with full force.

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Over the weekends this place is buzzing with people, conversations, small farmers stalls and fresh initiatives. But when the hustle and bustle dies down and the clutter of people clears, that’s when you get to take in the finer details of this special place, and that is what adds to its magic. The chairs waiting to be sat on, waiting for conversations. The freshly stitched creations waiting to be admired.

It’s in this silence that I realise that this Secret Garden is actually a lot like my Kuwait experience. My first impression was that Kuwait was this dusty plot of land, but it’s only when I embraced it with an open heart and mind that I truly started to find the hidden gems within. This garden is an environment that fosters kindness and community.

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My absolute favourite feature of this Garden is this Wall of Kindness.  I don’t know why I never knew about this wall before. If you find yourself in the area and have something you are willing to re-home, please keep this spot in mind.

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Essentially it is a unique space that has been created at the hands of the community for the benefit of the community with kindness at its core. Stop by during the quiet hours of midweek mornings to absorb the hidden gems or embrace the hustle and bustle over the weekend, there is something for everyone.

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Cheers,

la