Challenge 20 – Share the love

Your challenge this week: Do you have a plant that needs splitting or a cake that is too big for just your family to eat? Have you cleared out your children’s clothes or toys and could pass them on to new and grateful owners… the challenge this week is to share the love and pay it forward!

This challenge encourages the following values:
Kindness, Gratitude, Generosity, Resourcefulness, Compassion, Optimism.

What you need to complete your challenge this week:

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  • Find something that has given you joy that you can share or pass on to your friends or to strangers in need.

If all else fails… buy a cake or a packet of biscuits and either invite a friend round or pop them in the food bank at the supermarket. Alternatively, find something around the house that you can donate to a charity shop.

Food for thought for the grown-ups…

Some challenges are not born but naturally become them – this one was unplanned. Back last year, or even the year before, my beautiful friend Monica brought round an Aloe Vera plant for me which I later repotted into a pot I was given by another beautiful friend, Emma. I hadn’t had an aloe plant before but it thrived and multiplied so this afternoon I decided to repot it and split the smaller ‘baby’ plants into new pots. Midway through I heard a little voice, “Muuuuuuum, where are you?”. “Down the bottom of the garden,” I answered”. And so followed the sound of thundering little feet towards me, a look of curiosity and “Can I help you?”.

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Up to our elbows in the compost bag, and looking at the little tag on the pot which said ‘Life is better with friends’, we started talking about sharing and so this challenge idea sprung up. It’s a subject I suppose we introduce to children around about the time we brave the toddler group whilst still wrestling with nappies and breastfeeding judgement. This conversation about sharing goes on a loop, which I am sure you are all well acquainted with, and continues well into the teen years.

This kind of sharing however is a little different. We are sharing something that has brought us happiness as opposed to our favourite toy – I needed to approach this a little differently.

What innocently began as a kind gift from my friend is now ready to be shared onwards so flying by the seat of my pants I tried introducing the ‘pay it forward’ concept to my enthusiastic green-fingered little 5 year old. If you haven’t heard of this concept before its basically an idea where you pay generosity and kindness forward, rather than pay it back. It is all about recognising occasions where friends or strangers have helped you or thought about you. In turn, you help out another friend in need or think of another good deed you might be able to do. Maybe show support to a charity that has helped you so that it might then help others in turn. Maybe something as simple as donating a favourite inspirational book to a charity shop so that someone else might benefit from the same wise words you once read. It’s all about paying it forward.

and for the children…

What effect does participating in this act of sharing have in the mind of my little boy? For a start modelling sharing to children is a gift in itself. Your children are witnessing a social skill in terms of making and keeping friends. This is a life lesson that can be demonstrated by us and reinforced by our teaching. It’s easy to shout across a playgroup hall “Heeey, you need to give that back, you mustn’t snatch, you need to learn to share” but what if there is a different way to approach teaching children how to share? These lessons teach children about fairness and compromise, it teaches them about turn-taking and patience so what if we try teaching them through demonstration. This little challenge gives you the opportunity to discuss and model sharing in a non-threatening way. Here is my beautiful plant that was given to me, we enjoy looking at it on the windowsill in the kitchen so maybe mummy could share her baby plants with her friends and they can enjoy it too – he thankfully couldn’t argue with this. We talked about how giving the little baby plants away would make mummy’s friends smile and how that would make mummy feel. He asked if he could give a baby aloe plant to one of his friends…. my turn not to argue.

So go for it, what can you pay forward? Do you have anything that was gifted to you that you can share or something you have made or bought that you can share on now that you have no further use of it? Have a think, there’s no rush but do let me know how you or your children pay it forward.

*** So my friends who have read this far, know me and live a sensible driving distance away, who amongst you would like a baby aloe vera plant? I have 4 to gift onward… you are all worthy and I couldn’t possibly choose between your lovely faces x

***Update***

Karen, Adele, TraceyLyn, Claire and Roman, you are all now proud owners of these beautiful babies. I will care for them until I’m able to deliver them to you xxx

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