Empathy and Generosity - Raising our Children

It’s inspiring to see how other parents raise their children to be generous individuals. And it’s definitely a challenge; our little ones aren’t born with empathy. That became painfully clear to me when my children were sick some time ago.

I don’t know about you, but when my children are sick, they turn into the most difficult creatures. My heart breaks when they babble nonsense in bed at night, and I just can’t seem to bring down their fever. But the fact that they’re only capable of communicating their wishes and questions with exclamation marks, and scream if you don’t immediately understand their mumbling, also takes its toll after about four days.

Fortunately, we’re made to take care of each other, and I’m glad I can be there for them. When that fever finally subsides and they start feeling a bit more human again, it’s time for me to set clearer boundaries. After all, they’re not the only creatures on this planet. And if there’s one thing I want to avoid, it’s these delicate souls growing up to be selfish adults. Isn’t that every parent’s nightmare?

Raising children to be generous individuals is definitely a topic here in Tulsa. A mother shared her motivation for giving her children allowance: “I want my children to grow up to be continuous givers. I want to teach them that it’s something for every day, not just at Christmas, or weekly at church, but ingrained in your DNA. Regardless of how much money you make, a portion should go to others.” A father explained: “I don’t just want my children to enjoy giving, but to be motivated to give themselves, because they understand its value.”

It’s a wonderful challenge; raising our children – with empathy – to be autonomous, generous individuals. As parents, we guide and inspire them, and it’s nice to occasionally peek into someone else’s world. Because this challenge has its frustrations. But it also has its small victories; question marks are already being used in our home again.

How do you raise your children to be generous individuals?

-Tine-

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