As a parent, you can talk to your child until you are hoarse about being loving, compassionate, kind and respectful. You can couch it in games, crafts and object lessons. If yours is a church-going family, your child has probably heard the story of the Good Samaritan. Nothing will drive the point home more memorably than taking all the knowledge of "love your neighbor" and channeling it into real, practical activities that demonstrate love in action.
Make it a point to get to know your neighbors and look for ways you and your kids can contribute to their needs and make the neighborhood a better place to live. Organize a neighborhood cleanup and get the kids involved. Invite neighbors for a meal and let your child help with the cooking and serving. Organize a neighborhood barbecue or picnic with games for the kids. Let your kids make and deliver the invitations and help decorate. Look for ways your kids can help your neighbors such as mowing the lawn, helping carry groceries, light house cleaning when the neighbor is sick or after surgery, walking pets or pet sitting during vacation.
If you have an elderly shut-in in your neighborhood, your child can love that neighbor by adopting her as an honorary grandparent. They can read to each other, do puzzles or draw together. Your child can make small crafts and trinkets as gifts and remember her on her birthday and holidays. With your help, your child can include his adopted grandparent on family outings.
One of your neighbors will go through a rough patch such as a job loss or surgery. Your child can help prepare and deliver a meal to help ease some of the stress. Or pack a food or clothing box and leave it on their doorstep as a secret blessing. Perhaps an older child can babysit for a young couple who needs a night out.
When a neighbor experiences illness, hospitalization, a long recovery, a new birth or death in the family, your child can make sympathy or congratulations cards to sympathize or rejoice along with your neighbor. She can also arrange flower bouquets or make crafty gifts to offer support and encouragement to the neighbor during the difficult time.
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