service instead of selfishness

51GJ-UdRmGL._SS500_I know I kinda slack on the weekends with my blog, mostly because it’s when I spend the most time with my family but I thought I would make Sundays “Soul Sundays” and post something more inspirational or good for our souls such as a quote etc.
So today I wanted to discuss the topic of avoiding overindulging our children.

My father gave some great advice.  He said, “The worst thing you can do to your children is spoil them.”  I agree with this and yet, it is hard to say no in this overindulgent, materialistic society.  It’s even harder to say no when you have the means to do so.  I discovered the simple solution to this dillemma in a book that I’ve been reading called “52 Weeks of Fun Family Service” by Merrilee Boyack.

In this book, she discussed how children are naturally ego-centrical beings because of their need to survive.  But as they grow older, we hope they grow out of their selfishness.   She quoted H. David Burton who stated,
“Parents who have been successful in acquiring more often have a difficult time saying no to the demands of overindulged children. Their children run the risk of not learning important values like hard work, delayed gratification, honesty, and compassion. Affluent parents can and do raise well-adjusted, loving, and value-centered children, but the struggle to set limits, make do with less, and avoid the pitfalls of “more, more, more” has never been more difficult. It is hard to say no to more when you can afford to say yes.

Parents are rightfully anxious about the future. It is difficult to say no to more sports equipment, electronics, lessons, clothes, team participation, et cetera, when parents believe more will help children thrive in an increasingly competitive world. Young people seem to want more, partly because there is infinitely more to catch their eye. The American Academy of Pediatrics estimated that American children see more than 40,000 commercials a year.

Fewer and fewer parents ask their children to do chores around the house because they think they are already overwhelmed by social and academic pressures. But children devoid of responsibilities risk never learning that every individual can be of service and that life has meaning beyond their own happiness.”

I found that statement to be the ugly truth.  All too often I catch myself buying something for my kids thinking that it will bring them happiness only to hear them asking for more.
The author’s anecdote for selfishness was family service that starts in the home.  She outlined all the benefits for doing family service such as learning that the world doesn’t revolve around them, gratitude, global awareness, confidence, family unity etc.  The book also outlines where and how to start and then gives you 52 planned-out service projects for you to do as a family.

I was really inspired by this book and my new goal is to try to do at least one simple act of service for someone once a week individually and then one service project together as a family once a month.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~Mahatma Ghandi

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