Oct 3, 2011

Teaching Your Kids to be Great Adults

Is it just me, or does it seem kids are getting a little bit more arrogant and self-centred these days? I know they say the stereotypical Gen Y, although ambitious and driven, is actually more socially conscious than almost any other generation, but it sometimes seems hair gel and lip gloss are taking first place over modesty and a desire to help others.

Humility comes from our ability to find our place in the world, to know that everyone is equal – no better, no worse – and to live with some modesty and humbleness. It was drummed into many of us when we were young, but seems to be getting lost along the way.

Now kids are a product of the times – being raised during a period where technology was always increasing and readily available, money was generally in abundance, and physical appearance became a priority. Maybe they are too focused and too ambitious? Or maybe they just don’t know enough about what’s going on. Whatever it is, it’s important we teach our children to be great adults.

Why teach – why not let them figure it out themselves?
Humility, work ethic, reliability and other attributes are key characteristics in human beings. The help ensure we stay connected to each other, care for one another and focus on always improving our world through selfless acts. If we lose this, we lose a part of our humanity – we lose some of those few elements that actually make us different from animals.

If you want your children to be the type of people who care about our world – and for our people – we need to start while they’re young. So how do we do it?

1. Start small
Small acts will help get our kids in the right mindset to be humble people who care about others. Encourage them to help the elderly lady with her heavy bags, take part in initiatives like Clean Up Australia Day, volunteer at a local shelter or just take part in the MS read-a-thon. As they get older, ideas such as the 40 hour famine can give them a very practical understanding of what it’s really like to do without, or simply buy charity
Christmas cards, or their jewellery from Oxfam. Many of these initiatives are already organised, so all you need to do is give your child a push in the right direction.

2.Give them a sense of place
It is important that your children are confident, smart and independent. It is also important they understand their place in the world, and just how big the world is around them. Giving them a sense of place can be achieved by also giving them a cause they can relate to. Sponsoring a child gives them the opportunity to learn and understand how big the world is, and that people live in vastly different situations. This will help them realise their lifestyle and standard of living is quite good, and they have a responsibility to try to help others achieve the same.

3.Work hard
Another key ingredient to raising a child who is humble and becomes a great adult, is to instil in them a strong work ethic. Whether they work in fast food,
business card printing, for a charity or with a big corporate, they will benefit from the dedication and passion that is required to achieve. They will take instruction from others, learn from those senior to them and contribute from the bottom up.

4.Lead by example
Finally, the best way to teach your kids to be the type of people you hope them to be, is by being that person yourself. Lead by example. Be strong and independent, but genuine and caring, be confident, but humble, and intelligent but ready to learn. If you do it, maybe they will too.

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