With our society spiraling out of control into a seemingly endless pit of self-absorbtion, I, like many parents, find myself asking questions like "How do I teach my kids to be giving, compassionate, and unselfish?", "How can I compete with the media and other negative influences that tell my kids that they need- more, more, more?", and "How much is to much?"
In, Raising Unselfish Children in a Self-Absorbed World, child expert, Jill Rigby, challenges the self-esteem parenting methods that have been ingrained into American culture since the 1960's and early 70's.
I am an avid reader, and as I strolled through Barnes and Noble one day, this book caught my eye. Not being familiar with the author, but being intrigued by the subject matter and the endorsements of Dr. Laura Schlessinger and Dr. Henry Cloud, I went ahead and bought it. It then sat on my shelf for about two months until I finally got to reading it today. The verdict? This book is a must read for every Christian parent with a child living in their home! After picking it up this afternoon, I just couldn't put it down (As you can see from the time this entry was posted)!
Raising Unselfish Children in a Selfish World, encourages parents to look first inside their own hearts to seek the selflessness of Christ. In doing so, they prepare themselves to teach selflessness and compassion to their children. The author challenges parents to devise a plan, centered around scripture, in order to teach their children to look outside of themslves and to others with the eyes of a servant.
Rigby offers parents practical suggestions like:
1) Distinguish wants from needs.
2) Delve into God's Word with your kids.
3) Schedule more family togetherness activities.
4) Encourage your children to tithe and give to others.
5) Give your children opportunities to learn responsibility.
6) Get out there in God's world.
7) Model forgiveness in your own actions.
8) Make a commitment to live more with less.
9) Volunteer in your community as a family.
10) Teach classic manners.
11) Fill everyday with thanksgiving.
Suggestions for each section are broken down by age group, making them easy to locate and implement. She even offers activities that can go along with monthly themes to encourage self-less thinking and doing.
While many psychologists preach building up a child's self esteem, Ms. Rigby maintains that it is far more important to build God-confidence, humility and gratefulness in your child.
The fact of the matter that as humans, we are all selfish. We need to empty ourselves and our household of that selfishness in order to be filled with His love, compassion and servant's heart. I would recommend this book to any parent as a great guide to beginning the process of "bumping your child (and yourself) off self-center" in order live the lives that He wants you (and me) to live.