Gentleness is the word of the week in our character development series. Today I decided to focus on gentleness with all our senses. If you are unfamiliar with my character development series, please hover over the character development tab. Here you will find all of the character traits (52) we work on throughout the year. Each trait, when clicked on, will reveal 7-8 activities that will help you develop these traits in your children.
At Abby’s school, she is learning about the five senses. Her unit at school inspired our lesson on gentleness today. I decided to reflect on the ways to be gentle, and a lot of them tied in to different senses. Here’s how I looked at each of the senses with my kids.
I explored this one in two ways. First of all, I talked about how there are images in this world that are not gentle. We need to make choices in what we read and look at in magazines, TV, on the computer and videos. Is what I am looking at gentle to my brain or can it influence me in a negative way? I lightly discussed the attitudes that might be seen on TV, what people are wearing, what they say or what they do. Do the things I am looking at reflect gentleness and the goodness of God?
The other thing we did was give gentle looks. My oldest daughter, especially, has mastered the scowl. We are working on attitude with her big time right now, and the looks she can give me are just plain ugly. I thought it was important to talk about a gentle face. I had them scowl and noted the feelings in the face – the tension at the brow and narrowing of the eyes. I want my children’s approach with me and others to reflect gentleness and love instead of bitterness and a bad attitude.
We built Lego towers today. We talked about how a person had to have a gentle touch to grow the tower tall. We knocked them down to see the opposite results of a gentle touch. Knocking them down was of course a favorite part, we talked about how it’s appropriate to knock down your own tower but to have a gentle touch with other people’s things. We also addressed learning to be gentle with our things by our touch and not coloring on them, stepping on them or leaving them out on the floor.
We also talked about having loving hands. Loving hands are something I have taught since they started showing any signs of aggression. We, again, explored what loving hands looked like and talked about inappropriate touch. This can include hitting, kicking, breaking things, and the unfortunate business of needing to address private parts and how no one should touch theirs.
This activity really brings out the point of what gentle vs. aggressive means. The tongue enjoys a variety of flavors ranging from more mild to more of a kick. Today we explored flavors by trying things that were mild and gentle on the tongue (like milk and cheese) vs. things that were more aggressive (like Hot Tamales and Hot Sauce or salsa). In exploring this, I told them with food it is OK to like and try foods that are not gentle.
There is definitely a gentle approach in how we talk. It is yet another thing we are really working on right now. My kids have the habit of freaking out if something isn’t going their way rather than approach it in a calm, gentle way. We played a game I have done with my kids before to teach a gentleness in speech. Click on the link to see the main idea. I made a printable for you and for us to use in this exploration of how to best use their words when things are not going their way.
This is another one (like taste) to show the variety of smells you will encounter and the contrast between gentle smells vs. pungent smells. We just walked around the house to smell things to determine if they were gentle in smell or aggressive in smell. We smelled laundry detergent, soap, the diaper pail (yes…I’m that mean), wine, coffee, flour, perfume and candles.