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Assigned Random Acts of Kindness


jenn-
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Does anyone else have children that have to perform "X" amounts of random acts of kindness?  If so, what kind of things do you consider legit acts of kindness?  Are you allowed to duplicate the same act several times (ie making a sibling's bed several times during the required time period)?  How does your child keep up with the acts?

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My son's karate teacher expects them to do about one RAK a day. She has mentioned things like waking up without grumbling, or using please and thank you, so I'm pretty liberal about what I consider a kindness, and yes it probably repeats a lot. If he does something *really* sweet like giving his sister the best dessert or helping a friend at school, sometimes I count it for two kindnesses. (I'm shameless about kindness-padding, because this kind of extrinsic motivation is not the kind of thing we really do in our family so I'm very loathe to make it super formal. He doesn't need the incentive anyway...he's a sweet kid who's always doing nice things.)

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My son's karate teacher expects them to do about one RAK a day. She has mentioned things like waking up without grumbling, or using please and thank you, so I'm pretty liberal about what I consider a kindness, and yes it probably repeats a lot. If he does something *really* sweet like giving his sister the best dessert or helping a friend at school, sometimes I count it for two kindnesses. (I'm shameless about kindness-padding, because this kind of extrinsic motivation is not the kind of thing we really do in our family so I'm very loathe to make it super formal. He doesn't need the incentive anyway...he's a sweet kid who's always doing nice things.)

 

This is for our taekwondo.  We just found out that blue belt and above have a required amount of RAK before their next testing.  Does your son have to write down what he does and turn it in? 

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My knee jerk reaction is that "assigned" cancels out "random."

 

That said, I'd think I'd prefer that they make a note in a private journal (ie, no boasting) and challenge them to think of different acts rather than repeat the one.

 

 

That's exactly what I thought.

How "kind" are forced acts of kindness?

 

I think I'd encourage my kids to come up with their own ideas regarding this and accept whatever ideas they come up with (so long as it's not crazy or dangerous).

 

 

Yep, assigned is not random.  And assigned is legalism in my view because it doesn't come from one's own heart.  (I'm not responding directly to your situation since obviously I don't know your situation but in a very general sense.)

 

I totally agree with each of you.  Things that DD would normally do because she is who she is are now being thought of as an item on a list that needs to be completed.  I think this requirement comes from higher up in our governing federation because even our instructor has to do something like 10,000 RAK before she can test for her next rank (she had/has 6 years before she can test again).

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My son's karate teacher expects them to do about one RAK a day. She has mentioned things like waking up without grumbling, or using please and thank you, so I'm pretty liberal about what I consider a kindness, and yes it probably repeats a lot. If he does something *really* sweet like giving his sister the best dessert or helping a friend at school, sometimes I count it for two kindnesses. (I'm shameless about kindness-padding, because this kind of extrinsic motivation is not the kind of thing we really do in our family so I'm very loathe to make it super formal. He doesn't need the incentive anyway...he's a sweet kid who's always doing nice things.)

 

Saying please and thank you is a "random act of kindness?"   I'm not arguing with you,  Sunnyday.   I guess I'd argue with the karate teacher.    My knee-jerk reaction is we are in big trouble as a culture if we are "counting" common courtesy as a random act of kindness to be performed to a quota. 

 

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Saying please and thank you is a "random act of kindness?"   I'm not arguing with you,  Sunnyday.   I guess I'd argue with the karate teacher.    My knee-jerk reaction is we are in big trouble as a culture if we are "counting" common courtesy as a random act of kindness to be performed to a quota. 

 

 

I think this is another part of my problem with this.  I looked at ideas on the Random Acts of Kindness website and some of the things listed are just behaviors that are expected of my children.  I also get the privilege of filling one out as well.  I just cannot see counting letting a person over in traffic as a RAK, but I probably will have to in order to reach the magic number.

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Yeah....  a lot of those things are just common courtesy and basic decency.  And I agree - assigned is no longer random, and no longer directed by the thoughts and emotions that make a RAK a special thing - or even a meaningful thing.  Sigh.  None of this is directed at anyone here - just frustrated (I've seen this come up on Facebook a lot - many teacher friends are assigning them to their students!).

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That's exactly what I thought.

How "kind" are forced acts of kindness?

 

I think I'd encourage my kids to come up with their own ideas regarding this and accept whatever ideas they come up with (so long as it's not crazy or dangerous).

 

I ranted about this exact thing in the Unpopular Opinion thread.  Drives me nutso, and undermines the spirit of the whole thing.

 

Still, I agree with you about what I'd "accept" if I decided I wanted to enforce them doing it. 

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I totally agree with each of you.  Things that DD would normally do because she is who she is are now being thought of as an item on a list that needs to be completed.  I think this requirement comes from higher up in our governing federation because even our instructor has to do something like 10,000 RAK before she can test for her next rank (she had/has 6 years before she can test again).

 

That is absolutely bizarre. 

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This is entirely me... but I would be finding a new place to train in martial arts if they were teaching my children that its appropriate to force people to do RAK(in turn making them not RAK.)  Encouraging children to think about others and to perform RAK on their own without recognition or keeping track would be commendable,  requiring it in order to get a belt is not.  

 

If finding a new place to train is not an option I would make it a point to actively discuss with my child that this assignment in no way reflects the spirit of a RAK.

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LOL, I agree that they are not random if they are assigned.

 

My kids are in the middle of a campaign like that for TKD class.  They just sat down and wrote down all the ways they'd recently been helpful or shown kindness to someone else.  These included making a card for Grandma, helping Auntie take care of her puppies, helping Sister with her homework, ....  Miss E tried including some that were "just what you should be doing anyway," and I told her those don't count.

 

I should note that these are not required for a belt, but there is a medal kids can win if they sibmit a certain number (not a large number).

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This is entirely me... but I would be finding a new place to train in martial arts if they were teaching my children that its appropriate to force people to do RAK(in turn making them not RAK.)  Encouraging children to think about others and to perform RAK on their own without recognition or keeping track would be commendable,  requiring it in order to get a belt is not.  

 

If finding a new place to train is not an option I would make it a point to actively discuss with my child that this assignment in no way reflects the spirit of a RAK.

See, that's why I would put things down myself on a form for the child - things that I observed whether "big" or "small" as long as they came from the child's own heart - and would not involve the child directly in it at all.  That way you jump through the dojang's hoops, which I realize is trying to emphasize the character needed for higher belt levels, while keeping a child's motives pure and sweet.

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This is for our taekwondo.  We just found out that blue belt and above have a required amount of RAK before their next testing.  Does your son have to write down what he does and turn it in? 

 

Yes, our dojo requires RAKs for every single test starting with their first yellow stripe. But there is just a form with numbers to cross off, you don't have to write what they are. And I have taken responsibility for keeping track, I don't want my son to think in terms of "I'll do this because it's a kindness," instead of just because it's the right thing to do. Still, sometimes he'll say after the fact, "Mom...do you think that was maybe a kindness?" I can usually assure him I've already marked it off. ;)

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Our former karate sensei had the kids track "intentional kindnesses" for a week every so often. He talked to them about looking at the people around them and seeing what could be done, such as opening a door for someone with his hands full, helping mom unload the groceries *before* she asks, etc. He didn't call them "random," and I thought it was an interesting way to encourage kids to get out of their own heads and be observant and considerate.

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See, that's why I would put things down myself on a form for the child - things that I observed whether "big" or "small" as long as they came from the child's own heart - and would not involve the child directly in it at all.  That way you jump through the dojang's hoops, which I realize is trying to emphasize the character needed for higher belt levels, while keeping a child's motives pure and sweet.

 

If this is the case then that is a great way to do it.  However, I find it difficult to believe the child doesn't know what is required of them to move on to a belt at a certain age.  My 5 year old knows what is required of him.  Now he may know a little earlier than others because his father is the head instructor of the martial arts school so more is expected of our ds.  But I'd expect a 7 year old to know what was required for a new belt. Making a RAK a requirement teaches that we should receive acknowledgment for our good deeds which sort of defeats the purpose.

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My knee jerk reaction is that "assigned" cancels out "random."

 

That said, I'd think I'd prefer that they make a note in a private journal (ie, no boasting) and challenge them to think of different acts rather than repeat the one.

 

I read a book recently about a kid asigned to do Random Acts of Kindness and he (she? I forget) complained about just this.  And the teacher modified it to "Non-Random Acts of Kindness" But still wanted them to do one and be able to tell about it at the end of the week.

 

The kid had two older sisters and a baby sister (1 mo?). Wanted to get an animal pet for the younger sister but was being thwarted.  Had a friend who played with the chair that went up and down on their stairway and got her leg stuck underneath and the kid was sorta responsible for getting the leg stuck but also figured out how to get it unstuck

 

And a bunch of other stuff. And the night before the project was due, the kid didn't think they'd done an appropriate act of kindness yet and talked with one of the older sisters who told the kid (I think a him) all the stuff he had done that was Kindness, because it was just in his nature. But then had another idea just in case he wanted to do something intentional and planned

 

Oh there's also an incident when one of the kids got beaned by the teacher's shoe by accident. I think it was a second grader

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Our former karate sensei had the kids track "intentional kindnesses" for a week every so often. He talked to them about looking at the people around them and seeing what could be done, such as opening a door for someone with his hands full, helping mom unload the groceries *before* she asks, etc. He didn't call them "random," and I thought it was an interesting way to encourage kids to get out of their own heads and be observant and considerate.

 

see this sounds like a more positive way to go about it especially in a setting where you don't necessarily see the kid more than once or twice a week.  It exposes kids to forms of kindnesses and encourages them to be aware and strive to do some for a week and write them down.  Then I assume the teacher helps them reflect on them after the week is done and encourages them to continue striving to reach a point where those kindnesses are a part of them and not something you need to think about. 

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Our former karate sensei had the kids track "intentional kindnesses" for a week every so often. He talked to them about looking at the people around them and seeing what could be done, such as opening a door for someone with his hands full, helping mom unload the groceries *before* she asks, etc. He didn't call them "random," and I thought it was an interesting way to encourage kids to get out of their own heads and be observant and considerate.

 

I wouldn't personally nitpick about "random acts of kindness". It's a saying. Doesn't bother me if it's semi-random rather than true random. But I like "intentional kindness" better, especially in this context - "intentional" seems more in line with martial arts philosophy than "random", and it avoids the definition issue.

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This takes me back to my Brownie days where we finished each meeting with, "...and do a good turn every day."

Again if the child already is, then then no real change, but for others it is a conscience process towards what will hopefully become natural and eventually part of their character.

 

But I agree, change the random part.

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This makes me giggle because I actually put "Random Act of Kindness" on my kids' chore charts a couple months ago. Yes, I know " assigned" would make more sense... The "random" part is that they are supposed to notice a situation on their own... Two of my kids "get" it and one looks at it as a day off chores. Lol. I like "intention acts of kindness"... Maybe when I reprint the chart I will change it...

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I like the idea of looking back on things already done, because it is good for a young child to realize she's done some things from the heart that are kind and appreciated by others.  "I'm a kind person" based on past evidence seems more likely to encourage future acts of true kindness vs. "I have to go do something nice for somebody."  JMHO.

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