by Kyndra Steinmann

One of the hardest things to teach children (or remember ourselves) is that love isn’t a quid-pro-quo thing. Frequently, we interpret the “Golden Rule” as “We should only be as nice to others as they are to us!” The children certainly think so.

Of course, we could just spend a great deal of energy instructing and correcting whenever we see loving actions being done in an effort to get love. But why not harness that natural inclination and have some fun along the way?

We’ve done variations of this game a few times and it always helps make the children more aware of how they can lovingly serve each other. This time around, we’re going to use a heart theme in honor of Valentine’s Day!

Here’s how to “play”:

Print out enough “I-did-it-because-I-love-you” cards for each family member to have the ability to bless every other family member at least twice. For example, there are six of us, so I will print ten cards for each family member.

Everyone takes their cards and looks for chances throughout the day to anonymously bless the other family members. When we find a chance to do so, we do the blessing and then leave a card behind.  Example: If one child anonymously clears the dishwasher for another, he leaves one of his cards in the dishwasher for the other child to find.

When the children have been blessed by another, they can put the cards they collected back into play by continuing the blessing.

At the end of the day, everyone is given the opportunity to report on how he was blessed by the others. No one identifies himself as the “blessor” but only as a “blessee.”

With a houseful of under-seven-year-olds as we have, I expect I’ll be in the know, although the bigger children will probably catch on quickly. Bull (the four-year-old) will probably think the whole thing is a grand joke and be very enthusiastic. The toddler will need lots of help to participate—and probably won’t be anonymous—but that won’t hurt the game at all!

Have fun encouraging each other to show your love through acts of kindness and service!

Kyndra Steinmann blogs at Sticks, Stones and Chicken Bones on living in a house full of young children, unending questions, and abundant grace. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, and be sure to read her post here every other Tuesday!

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