Does it ever seem like kids can dwell in their own little world without much concern for others? Do you know any adults who can get in this mode as well? (You don’t have to answer that second question if you don’t want to). We can all be guilty of being ‘left to our own devices’ (actual devices).
The real question is: How do we get kids to think of others and to behave in less selfish ways?
At the Love and Logic Institute, Inc, we believe in figuring out what we can control.
In this case, one of the most important things we can control is what we model - the selfless example that we intentionally set. When kids see us doing for others and contributing to the greater good of the family- and to society as a whole, powerful messages are sent.
When they see us regularly doing these things without complaining or using our good deeds to launch guilt trips, the message can say, ‘This is who we are!’
Also important is that they see we are HAPPY doing these things. Acts of service bring us joy and an awesome sense of connection. We are just made that way.
Think about it. Some of the most miserable people you know are also the most selfish and self-focused.
Conversely, many of the most joyful people you know are selfless, giving human beings who find great joy in serving others.
It seems that when we humans only receive, seeds of entitlement and (interestingly) resentment start to grow. We don’t feel good when we contribute nothing so we have to resent someone. And who is there to resent but the very people giving us everything and/or doing everything for us?
I once heard Jim Fay say that the prescription for entitlement is the same as the prescription for a lack of responsibility - CHORES (aka contributions). Chores (I mean ‘contributions to the home’) accomplish so many things we may not even see. Kids accomplishing even simple chores begin to feel important and a wonderful sense of belonging.
Now, don’t worry. If you haven’t been requiring enough regular contributions (beginning at home) from your kids, it is never too late for them to start getting those good feelings. And we can help you get started with audios that will help you make sure chores get done.
Then, you can experiment with acts of community service outside the home. Some of these experiences of serving TOGETHER end up being wonderful lifetime memories.
Don’t worry if everything doesn’t go perfectly. The attitude and the effort make all the difference. Even if kids complain the whole time, we know they are getting some benefit from the experience.
We appreciate you all very much and the wonderful, selfless work that many of you do!
Let’s help pass it on to the next generation!