Raising kids can be a trying experience, especially as they age and parents try to find ways to help motivate them to become better humans.
Niya Williams, a mother of four, knows that all too well. So when she came up with a kind way for her son to pay it forward after he got in trouble at school, neighbors took notice.
One Mother’s Unique Punishment for Her Son’s Suspension
One day, Williams’ 10th-grade son, Amaurryon Johnson, came home from school with a five-day suspension. According to Tribune Media Services, this wasn’t the first time her son had gotten in trouble — he had been suspended from school earlier that year, too.
At that point, the San Joaquin County, the California mom could have gone the way of banning electronics or grounding Amaurryon from seeing his friends. Instead, she came up with another unique consequence: yard work.
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“My yard is already done, he’s done the yard perfect all summer since the first time he got suspended,” Williams told the outlet. So, she decided this time around her son could extend some kindness and help others achieve a perfect yard, too.
I felt like I took from the community, so it’s good to give back to the community.
Mowing Community Lawns Taught One Troubled Son the Value of Giving Back
Williams turned to Facebook and in a post, offered her son’s free lawn-mowing skills to the elderly and those in need. Surprisingly, many people responded. “I thought it was such an awesome thing that she was doing,” Stephanie Cruz told Tribune. “I just thought we can help and save a couple of hours to help her teach her son what she wanted to do.”
That summer, Amaurryon got to work, one lawn at a time. Eventually, he started to enjoy the jobs and was grateful to his mom for the tasks. “I really appreciate this from [my mom], I don’t really know what to say,” Amaurryon said. “After doing one or two I started liking it.”
Looking forward, he added he would like to keep mowing lawns over the summer, potentially as a way to earn some extra cash. “I felt like I took from the community, so it’s good to give back to the community,” he added.
Whether the lesson sticks remains to be seen (parenting is one day at a time, after all), but Williams is still happy she was able to teach her son about the power of giving back and donating your time to those who need a hand. “At the end of the day,” she said, “I still felt great about teaching the lesson to my son.”
Teaching Kids to Pay It Forward Will Make Them Better Adults
This story reminds us there are many ways to teach our own children lessons throughout the years, and that when things get tough, sometimes thinking outside the box can yield the best results. Rather than taking away electronics or grounding kids as a punishment, taking those moments as teachable ones may leave a bigger impression on both of you.
Whether that means teaching kids the value of doing yard work, spending time at a retirement centre, delivering meals, or volunteering hours at a donation center or other charity, showing kids how much their time can mean to someone else can make them feel good about doing the right thing.
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And hey, maybe while you’re at it, lead by example and donate some of your own time too. Because at the end of the day we’re all just trying to raise better humans while being better people ourselves, and what better way to do both than by keeping it in the family and donating your time together.
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“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.” – H. Jackson Brown Jr.
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