Monday, December 7, 2015

How to help your kids be less selfish

Every year, right around this time, I start getting lovely emails from lovely folks who want to know how they can help (side note: I love getting these emails, please don’t stop sending them). What impoverished children can they buy Christmas toys? Can they bring their kids to serve a meal? They desire to teach their kids selflessness and generosity, to help them cultivate hearts of gratitude over greed. So they’re hoping to come down one morning and perhaps hand out toys or serve food to homeless people.
I both agree and sympathize so deeply with the moms who email me. I GET trying so desperately hard not to lose sight of the Truest things in the bustle of the holiday season. I long for my children to grow up compassionate and empathetic. Kind, rather than simply nice. They are bombarded by gifts from loving aunts and uncles and grandparents, not to mention Adam and I who have a penchant for impulse buys. Their tree often overflows, and their greed seems to grow likewise, until it seemingly knows no bounds. I mostly despair at this point, and threaten to cancel Christmas or perhaps give away every last one of their toys to kids in Africa. Because this is a reasonable and practical solution. And so, of course, packing a shoebox or serving food at a homeless shelter feels not just like a nice gesture but a necessary step in preventing my children from turning out as serial killers or stars of their own reality television show. The problem is that a once-a-year service project cannot be enough. It’s better than nothing, of course; however, I don’t want my standard as a parent left simply at “better than nothing.”

Read the rest over at my friend Kristen's place: We Are THAT Family 

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