This post ties in well with what I wrote yesterday but it looks at our children’s side of things, for a change.
I was writing yesterday about how busy a mummy’s life can be when it is centered around her children, her work and the well-being of the ones she loves.
We work to provide for our children. We strive to ensure they get opportunities to develop and thrive. We sacrifice our careers, our comfort and our healthy sex lives 🙂 in order to bring up individuals who will serve the society and themselves well as adults.
BUT there must be a balance, and this balance needs to be introduced early on in our children’s lives. They need to grasp the concept of giving as the natural reverse of receiving. They need to understand that the sacrifices we make for them, done in love and with the utmost pleasure and enthusiasm, need to reflect a similar attitude in themselves.
And folks, flash news now, giving ain’t natural to a small child!
The natural thing is for Emma to watch Nick Junior and ask for about half a dozen birthday presents “inspired” by the glamorous ads. The natural thing is for Emma to wake up and demand breakfast, even when mummy and daddy are having a lie-in on a Saturday morning. The natural thing is for her to eat ALL the chocolates auntie sent from Greece, “because they were mine!”
The natural thing is for Emma to ask me to buy her a new toy or treat every time we step into Home Bargains.
I said it before and sorry if I repeat myself here but I believe it is our duty as a parents, alongside the provision and the nurturing we do daily and consistently, to raise children who are well aware of the world around them and not focused on themselves only.
Selflessness is teachable, like any other virtue.
So…when Emma asks for half a dozen birthday presents for herself, I gently remind her that due to lack of storage in our home, she can only pick two. She hears this daily and now she knows she needs to narrow it to two.
When Emma gets noisy on a Saturday morning, I remind her daddy works very hard during the week and he needs some extra sleep and she would break into a whisper and wait patiently until he wakes up.
When Emma gets chocolate I encourage her to save some for later, so she can share with her visiting friends.
When Emma does get a new toy or book, we make a point of going through her older toys and books and choosing some to donate to the local charities or her playgroup, so that other children can enjoy them.
And it does work, once you are willing as a parent to put the legwork in.
It melts our hearts when Emma shows compassion, even towards her smaller fellow apartment co-inhabitants, the spiders, and wants to offer them a home :-). It makes us proud to hear her enquire about the Smartie tubes her playgroup is collecting as a means of fund-raising and empty our pockets of change. It makes me go to sleep with a smile when the last thing she has asked me that evening was: “Are YOU comfortable, mummy?”
I do encourage you to introduce the concept of giving even to your small children. The earlier they start learning, then better they will get at it!
This is my entry for the monthly BritMums carnival. This month it is hosted by Sarah Hill Wheeler at Crewcut and Newt, why don’t you pop by to say hello and write your own view on the subject?