Many of the books I share are found through a sponsorship or other paid review program. Others are so good I just have share them. Still others are so perfect for family activities and/or character development, I'm forced to write them up as such. Heartprints, by P. K. Hallinan, is one of those books.
A heart-print is the impression left behind by a deliberate act of kindness.
I can't remember exactly how we came across this book, but I *think* that it was a Valentine's Day present from my mom several years ago. In any event, I always pull this book off of our shelf in February when pink and hearts are everywhere we turn.
Heartprints encourages children to think about ways that they can make someone's day better by doing a small act of kindness. Activities suggested range from sharing a smile with a stranger to volunteering with a larger group.
I tend to think anything we can do to encourage kindness is a good thing, particularly within our family (which for my children seems a bit harder than with strangers?). This year, we made a heart-prints board. Tempers have been (understandably) a bit short around here.... As we work to un-plug from a very stressful season of family life, we needed to do some reconnecting and reminding of simple courtesies. As I have told the kids, being rude and mean to each other is not going to help us feel better about everything that has gone on. (Yes, I am admitting I have needed this reminder more than a few times as well.)
To make the board, everyone signed their name to a large white poster board and we cut out dozens of small hearts from pink, red, and purple construction paper. All of the paper hearts are in a basket with a glue stick and whenever someone gets *caught* leaving a heart print (preferably by their siblings, but often by mom or dad too), they get to glue a heart near their name.
It's not a very fancy system, really. I'm pretty much a find your own way and make it work for you kind of gal. Maybe your children could give heartprints like Valentines? Maybe you want to award the hearts instead of asking the kids to award them to each other? Maybe you want to make a tie to St. Therese's Little Way of Love, like Caleb did when he wrote that quote from his copy work on the board?
Maybe you just want to read the book and forget about turning it into something extra?
That's totally ok with me. I'll never tell... better yet, I'll never know!
A heartprint is formed
When you do something kind.
Your love touches others,
Leaving heart prints behind.
So... what will you do?
Well, that's up to you.
Italicized text quoted from the book Heartprints, by P.K. Hallinan.
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