How do you teach your children to think of others? To put others needs before their own? My husband especially struggles with teaching this life lesson to our kids. “ Why can’t you just share? Just take turns!” is often heard coming from our lips. Most times however, they do apply this lesson and will give ( or at least trade ) willingly.
A particular memory that comes to mind, is of my vivacious daughter Serelle.
At the school they attend, they are given tickets for good behavior. When they collect enough they can cash them in for a prize.
Needless to say, Serelle was really motivated to collect as many as she could. She would rush to open doors for teachers, pick up trash, wipe lunch tables. Her favorite was when she found a $20.00 bill on the ground and turned it into the office.
After she had reached her goal of collecting enough tickets for a reward, she happily informed the teacher that she was ready to pick her prize. They went down the hall to the display case filled with all the prizes. It was full of books, posters, stickers, pencils, and other little trinkets.
I can just image the look of total concentration on her little face. So many choices!
That morning she had informed me that she had collected enough tickets and would be coming home with her prize. I knew she had a new found love of pencils, and figured that is what she would pick.
When she came home, I had not thought to ask her what she had picked, and we fell into our routine of doing homework and having snacks.
When she suddenly jumped up from the table exclaiming “ I almost forgot to show you!” Thinking that she was talking to me, I looked up to realized that she was talking not to me, but her big brother, Drew.
She ran to her backpack, reached in and pulled out a pack of Star Wars stickers. With a shining countenance and great big smile, she handed them to her brother.
“ As soon as I saw these I thought of you and how much you like star wars. I got these for you.”
All those weeks of planning and working, and when faced with a choice, she choose not to think of herself, but her brother.
With this simple act, I was made aware that they are listening. But more importantly they are watching.
I read a quote once that said "The most effective way to teach children is not with words, but with example.”
I am touched by, and grateful for, her loving example to her younger, and in this instance, older sibling.