How Can We Teach Our Kids Selflessness?

In honor of the self-sacrifice of veterans and their families, it seems appropriate to consider how we can instill these values in our children. When we do, they benefit and so does our world. It’s a win-win deal!

Note: To see my full article on this subject, visit my blog.

Teach them to serve you and their family
 
Are your kids working hard to serve you… or are you doing all of the work? Children should not be treated as slaves. They should, however, be expected to do their fair share of work around the house… so they don’t believe their parents are slaves.
 
Expect tangible mini acts of service
 
There’s a “train” at Denver International Airport that shuttles passengers from the main terminal to the various airline concourses. It’s almost always the same scene: The seats are filled with children, teens, and young adults, while older… even elderly people… are forced to stand.
 
Is there something wrong with this picture?
 
Allow boredom
 
Too many of us feel compelled to entertain our kids anytime they experience a bit of dullness. Can you see the connection between doing so and them believing they are the center of the universe? Is it good for kids to be occasionally bored while you shop, while you have a conversation with someone, while you wait in line, or while you spend a quiet weekend at home?
 
Limit exposure to popular media
 
A steady, unsupervised diet of on-screen narcissism and negativity is certain to make our job of raising selfless kids much harder.
 
Community service… as a privilege not a punishment
 
Great parents occasionally say things like, “This is great! Today we get to go over to the nursing home on Elm Street and read to seniors who can’t see well enough to read for themselves.” Or they say, “The park is trashed. It’s going to feel so good to help out by cleaning it up!”
 
Great parents also ignore complaining and eye-rolling as they load the family into the car. Just like most things that are good for them, kids often need a bit of prodding to realize how good it feels to help. A friend of mine commented, “They hated it at first. Now they love it. It’s become a real family bonding opportunity.”
 
In honor of our veterans and their families, can we give some careful thought to how we might raise young people who understand selflessness… and the fact that the best way to feel good about oneself is to serve?
 
Find more practical parenting solutions for military families in our audio Love and Logic for Heroes. If you are a member of a military family, call us at 800-338-4065 to receive this MP3 download at no cost. 
 
Thanks for reading! Remember, read the full blog article at www.loveandlogic.com/blog.

Dr. Charles Fay