The values that you believe are important for your family. You have such an awesome responsibility to share values like kindness, compassion, and generosity to your children daily.
You get to talk about what is important and identify when values are part of your family’s DNA. More importantly you can role model how to implement these values.
An opportune time to share your thoughts, feelings and beliefs with your kids is at dinner time. You have a captive audience and can share what is important to you and why.
If you spend extra time with her children talking about faith or being kind to the neighbor, it teaches them how important kind values are in a world where people seem more interested in materialism and selfies than the well beings of others.
It is always a fantastic opportunity to ask your children inquisitive questions that help them to develop the skills to think through how they would handle a difficult situation. I was working with a family where the dad started a “giving jar” and together the family would donate their spare change until the jar was filled and then they took turns deciding how they would spend it. One child wanted to buy toys for the dogs at the humane society. One time they decided to drive around the inner city and look for people who might benefit from the money they had collected. I know that you might be thinking … well the recipient might have used it for alcohol or drugs, but the parents shared the belief that spreading kindness produced good things. They were sharing another value by talking about the notion of random kindness and how when you give to others it can also feel like a gift for you.
Certainly, when you agree to grab an ornament from the church Christmas tree so that you can sponsor a child and provide for him/her at Christmas, you are teaching them the meaning of taking care of community, sharing the wealth, and teaching them to make a difference.
What values are important for you to share with your family? What if you had a family meeting and encouraged your kids to come up with a way to make life easier for others? What might they want to do?
In my work with an anxious child, I recognized that her anxiety was in part due to feeling scared of all the weather catastrophes that were occurring in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rica. When a child feels anxious it usually is directly related to feelings like life seems out of control. I asked her if she would consider doing something nice for the people who had been affected by the storms. She and her brother got permission from their local grocery store to hold a lemonade and ice tea stand. Her principal announced it in the school newsletter, the local media ran a story on it and together she and her brother raised over $6000 dollars for a community in Puerto Rico to buy bottled water until their own water supply returned. Her anxieties decreased because she was focused on helping as opposed to fearing what could happen in their community. Kindness creates a sense of empowerment. It refocuses one’s energies by looking at life proactively.
What might you do to make a difference in the life of others and how might your family participate in your mission?