“Real generosity is doing something nice for someone who will never find out.” —Frank A. Clark
“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” —Scott Adams
It’s always nice to hear positive comments when we do something for others, yet a challenge is to do these things with little or no concern or motivation for any reward other than the intrinsic good feelings that such an act can generate. This is the encouragement offered to children by the FOX card in the Children’s Spirit Animal Cards.
As one personal example, there’s been a few times when going through a tollbooth I’ve paid for the next three or four cars following. There was a real pleasure in doing so, knowing that the drivers would undoubtedly be pleasantly surprised. They might even some day pay it forward by doing the same for others.
I strongly believe in acknowledging someone when they do something kind for another person, even if it’s a simple “thank you.” Children who are rewarded with encouragement in this way will ultimately internalize the good feelings that come from doing nice things for others. Fox invites the child to take it one more step and do something for another person solely for the intrinsically good feelings that come from doing so. Doing a secret favor can then become a playful and rewarding game for the child.
As Fox spirit says in the guidebook that accompanies the cards:
Sometimes people think we’re kind of sneaky, but that’s not really true. We do try to be careful about being seen because we’re sort of shy, but believe it or not, we also really like to do things for each other and for other animals. So today try and do some things without anyone knowing it’s you who’s doing it. These are called secret favors, where you don’t take credit for it or let whoever you’re doing these things for know it was you.
For instance, put the newspaper on your neighbor’s porch without being seen. Pick some apples and leave them for a friend or for your family and don’t let on that it was you who did so. Pick up some trash and put it in the recycler or trashcan. Do any of these or other things without letting people know it was you. It’s nice when others show their appreciation for what you do, but it can also be fun to do things for someone else and they have no clue that it was you who did it!
Following this reading, as with all the cards there are some specific suggestions for activities children can do to reinforce this particular value:
* Today do at least two secret favors for someone else and see how it makes you feel.
* Do a secret favor for one of your friends at school and once they notice it, don’t tell them it was you.
* Do something special in secret for one or both of your parents and again, don’t let on that it was you.
There are also suggestions for parents about ways to reinforce this kind of giving. These ideas are especially useful for parents with younger children who aren’t yet reading:
* Model this by doing a favor for someone without their knowledge.
* Leave a present on the doorstep of a neighbor, a friend, or a family member and make it anonymous.
* Take some recycled goods to any charity that will give it to the poor, explaining that whomever these go to it will be a secret favor because whoever receives it won’t know who gave it to them.
You can even can make a game of this. Try it yourself and see how you feel when you do something for someone without taking credit. There’s a quiet joy that you’ll no doubt feel, as will your child when he or she decides to do a secret favor!
“A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one deed.“
“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” —Maya Angelou
About The Author: Dr. Steven Farmer is the author of the several best-selling products including Children’s Spirit Animal Cards, Earth Magic, Animal Spirit Guides, Power Animals, Earth Magic Oracle Cards, Power Animal Oracle Cards, Messages from Your Animal Spirit Guides Oracle Cards, and Sacred Ceremony. He is a shamanic practitioner, ordained minister, hypnotherapist, former college professor and retired psychotherapist. Steven offers workshops and presentations on a variety of shamanic healing and earth-centered spirituality topics and also offers private shamanic healing and divination sessions. To learn more about his workshops or to contact him, please visit www.EarthMagic.net.