When and how do children learn that happiness, positive relationships and contentedness come because of the work that we put into them? They come not gift -wrapped but through the gifts that we give to others. Parents and teachers model it to children and children teach each other through the way that they treat one another. In our family and in our classroom, we create a happy place when we put the following principles into practice daily.
1. We show appreciation in word and action that we do not take the little things of life for granted like help from a friend, clothes that are washed, meals that are provided, pocket money supplied, or a word of friendship and encouragement given.
2. We not only share the pleasures we enjoy, but also the work and responsibilities and we do it without grumbling or constant reminders.
3. We look for something to praise before we criticize, and where criticism is necessary, we do it sensitively and constructively. We strive to build each other up rather than to pull each other down.
4. We will praise effort and achievement equally.
5. We will offer kindness, consideration, respect and understanding to all with whom we come into contact – family, friends or acquaintances.
6. We will use our manners. Saying please and thankyou are important, and it is polite not to butt in when someone else is talking. We look at the person when we talk with them.
7. We will not demand perfection in others until we can offer it to them ourselves. Rather, when we are bad tempered or in the wrong, we will admit it and apologize. We will not hold grudges and we will be quick to try and mend bridges.
8. We will value people over things. New computers, new stereos, a new house, a new shed or the latest gadget are of much lesser value than the qualities valued by God, which he wants us to share with each other. Namely, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
9. We will treasure our home, our family, our classroom and our friends as God’s special gift to us. They as designed for our growth and development as individuals. We will encourage and believe in each other, we will accept the need for risk, and possibility of failure and the potential for success as together we ask God to walk with us in our family and our classroom.
10. We will recognize that with Jesus in our family we can share forgiveness and a new beginning each day.
Neil P. Schiller