While raising our son, like many parents, my husband and I wanted to teach and instill values in him that reflected our core beliefs, that would help him to become a good citizen, contribute to society and most importantly that he would like himself and therefore enjoy others. Giving….learning to receive and to give to others is a strong value of ours as a family. Practicing generosity was high on our day to day list.
When our son Caleb was 8 years old, we sold everything, our house, belongings, pets, everything, to move to Mexico and then on to Central America for a period of four years. Living in a 33 foot trailer we couldn’t keep a lot of ‘stuff’ We would practice the “river principle.” When something came in, something had to go out. For example, when Caleb received a new toy from someone, he had to give a toy to another child otherwise we would get a build up of stuff and we just didn’t have room.
The “river principle” would become a part of our value system lived out not only in the toy department but in almost every area of life. We would learn to receive generously as well as to give generously. This transferred into diverse forms of giving; kind & encouraging words, tokens of appreciation, volunteering of time, helping hands and the giving of gifts.
Grooming a selfless, generous, giving spirit in your child is not only possible and highly beneficial to them and to society in general, this will also combat the “give me now” generation that is wreaking havoc that we sometimes encounter in our families, in grocery store line ups, schools etc. Yes it’s true, out of our need for living space we began practicing the “river principle” yet, truthfully we began when our son was much younger. He was an only child who could have had it all, new clothes, new toys, new everything. Yet, we chose to take the advise we heard from Oprah Winfrey which was, “Act as if you have 5 kids!” Such great advice! Totally useful as we would go on to help run a children’s home in the middle of the jungle in Central America!
While there, teaching and training the impoverished children, we taught and lived out the “river principle.” It’s amazing what would be given to the children in the home! They would receive far more than what they needed. Along with our son, they would choose one item to keep and one to give away. With joy, the children would load up the ‘extra’ toys, clothes, etc into our truck and off we would go to the villages to joyfully give out of our overflow. The river was always flowing.
Problems, trouble, bad attitude, ‘give me this give me that’ kind of mentality is actually easier to solve than most parents realize. We do our kids a huge disservice by not teaching and modeling to serve others……..we must keep the river flowing. Water that gets stagnant and plugged up, becomes stinky, dirty, and is not useful.
To become a good giver you actually have to become a good receiver. Perhaps, we as parents should focus more on how to receive properly. By developing a thankful heart, saying the simple words, “Thank you” is such a great place to start! From that place giving would be a much simpler step and the river would keep on flowing!
I understand that teaching core values and modeling good behavior is of utmost priority to you as a parent. To assist you in this worthy calling (the ancient Proverb comes to mind, “Train up a child in the way he/she should go”), there are several profiles available to you:
Your Personal Brain Profile – highly recommend you knowing your thinking preferences first 🙂
Parenting Style (understanding your parenting preference is highly beneficial to understanding your child better).
Young Child Indicator ages 4-8
CLICK HERE for more information on these profiles.
Cheers to your success and happiness!
Always in your corner, Kristen