Every Monday, my child gets a writing prompt at school, and we've taken to discussing them in the car on the way to and from school. It's like a mini editorial meeting. We talk about potential content for the prompts.
While they're great at getting kids to practice composing complete sentences and perfect their handwriting, at least in my kid's case, the prompts also prove a source of stress. The impromptu chats about the prompts helps release some of that pressure and allows the kids get some practice at brainstorming, which is a valuable skill in the creative working world.
I've also learned that there's a lot to learn from regular writing prompt brainstorming sessions with little ones.
This morning, we discussed the new prompt – "I can be a friend by..." – and I promised my little one that I'd work on the prompt today, too, based on the ideas we discussed in the car, though using a computer instead of a moveable alphabet, pencil and paper:
I can be a friend by being kind. While, at least at our school, children spend a lot of time learning and modeling kindness, it's something we, as adults, surely don't think about enough. We experience kindness every day, of course, in simple ways – when someone holds a door open for you, perhaps – and in profound ones, when we do something valuable for a neighbor in need, for example.
And we are blown away when we read stories of selfless do-gooders, in part because we know that for such stories to appear in the media, they must be at least somewhat rare.
Of course, one doesn't have to look carefully to find the opposite. Any news report is rife with spite, anger and evil-doing. Hop behind the wheel or go to the grocery store on a busy Saturday and it won't take long to find smaller, random acts of inconsideration. For all our preaching to kids about kindness, too many adults have defaulted to the opposite.
I can be a friend by being a good role model. Nothing encourages kindness and consideration like witnessin…Read more...