This activity is an effective way to help the family focus on being kind and thoughtful at home. Idea and language from Honoring the Light of the Child by Sonnie McFarland.
- To inspire the family to act in peaceful and thoughtful ways.
- To recognize kind and thoughtful acts by using the concrete symbols of a tree and paper flowers.
- To set the tone of kindness and peace in the household.
- Live tree or sturdy plant capable of holding paper flowers and easily accessible.
- Basket of paper or silk flowers next to the tree. Short video for DIY paper flowers HERE. Any shape/material is fine, the focus is on the act of placing something on the tree and discussing the symbol of this act.
- Before introducing the Peace Tree, engage the child in a discussion about ‘acts of kindness’. Discuss how you feel when people are kind and thoughtful to you. How do they feel when they are kind / thoughtful to others? Explore:
- How do you feel when you take care of plants or animals?
- How do we think plants and animals feel when people are kind / thoughtful to them?
- Make a connection between that feeling and the tree flowering. The idea is that the tree flowers when people do kind deeds.
- Discuss the idea of kind deeds. Have them name deeds that are kind and thoughtful.
- Record the ideas on a large sheet of paper and hang it up.
- Introduce the Peace Tree as a special tree that will help the family remember to be thoughtful and kind to one another. Show them the basket of flowers. Tell them that when we do a kind deed or see a kind deed done by someone, we put a flower on the tree.
- Do a role play in which someone does a kind deed for another. Have the person who receives the kind deed place a flower on the tree. Do a second roleplay where someone completes a challenging work. Have the child place a flower on the tree. Comment on how beautiful it is to see the tree flowering because of kind deeds in the house.
- Put the tree and basket of flowers back to their special place in the room.
- Tell them that at the end of each day you will discuss the kind deeds done in the house as represented by the flowers. Let them know that you will remove the flowers each day so new flowers can be placed on the tree the next day.
- For best results, conscientiously draw attention to the Peace Tree at the end of each day. Discuss what kind deeds they saw or experienced during the day.
- When you have a “good” day refer to your house as a “flowering house.” By keeping the words of the metaphor alive, you inspire the child.