Entitlement: How to Keep your Children Humble and Grateful
Every parent wants to raise their child to be a good human being when they grow up. As parents, we want to know that we did our job in raising our children and that they will know how to treat others. Parents want their children to be strong and confident but also humble and kind to everyone around them. Without humility, there is arrogance and ugliness, so how exactly do we teach our children to be appreciative, kind and grateful?
Start with the basics. Saying “please” and “thank you” are a small thing that are looked over way too often. Children need to be taught this basic skill just as much as they need to be taught to comb their hair and brush their teeth. Children are basically little tiny sponges that absorb everything! We cannot expect them to just know humility without any sort of guidance. We need to work with them consistently on how to respond to others when they are given a compliment or a gift. We need to teach them how to properly ask for something. More importantly, we need to be sure we practice what we preach because not modeling what we are teaching can be very confusing to a child.
Teach your children to serve so that they can have a better understanding of gratitude and thankfulness. Give your children eye opening experiences that will make them feel appreciative. Since my brother and I were children, our mother made us get up every Christmas Eve and serve a holiday dinner to the homeless. At the time, we did not always want to, but by the end of the day the amount of love we felt was overwhelming. We have both now carried that tradition on with our own families and hope this continues for generations to come. Teach your children to serve the homeless and poor, their family and one another. Making it a priority to have an ‘attitude of gratitude’ and passing that along to your children is such a wonderful gift to pass on to them. It is a proven fact provided by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley that “people who practice gratitude feel considerably happier”. Why not give our children the gift of happiness by showing them how to be grateful, thankful and giving?
I remember being about 12 years old when my dad sat me down at the end of a day I thought was the worst day of my life and telling me “it is more important to be kind than to be right, because what is right isn’t always popular and what’s popular isn’t always right”. I will never forget how that made me feel and how it made me look differently on every decision I made from that point on. To this day, I think of that in everything I do. Let’s be honest, being an adult is hard! But, having someone teaching you how to be a nice, kind, gracious and humble adult sure does make it easier. Bottom line is, teach your children to be the type of person you want them to be around, nothing less.