Raising Children

There are probably as many experts willing to pontificate and spew information about how to raise children as there are families. Everyone has an opinion and few are afraid to voice their ideas. I remember all the advice I got when I was pregnant with my first. And second. And third. Honestly, it never stopped. Each pregnancy brought new advice. By the time I’d had number five I hope I’d learned something. But the advice kept coming.

Not once, though, do I remember hearing “Raise your children up to have a good heart and do good deeds”. Honestly, not once. I’m not sure in the beginning I even gave that much thought. Making sure they became self-sufficient and could handle the world seemed like such a big job that piling anything else on would have been cruel. Somewhere along the way, however, when they knew enough I tried to mirror the actions I wanted from them. I’m not the best person in the world but I do feel deeply. Emotions wash up whenever I see someone in need.

I guess they saw that. This weekend proves it. My youngest – the most unique teenager I’ve ever met – wanted to invite an older couple for Thanksgiving dinner. They had no place else to go. It made me happy. We always have room for one or two more at the table, which is laden with enough food to feed a small army. He gets it. Helping others can start at home. You don’t have to stretch your arms around the world to do a good deed. In our own community there are ways to help.

Our drive to school brought back another memory. Daughter number three, with a heart as big and wide as the universe, knew someone injured in a horrific car accident. Someone died. She organized a carwash to help the families. I drive by the spot where the accident happened every morning. I think often about what her kindness and compassion did for someone in need.

Actions can be big or little. Both will make a difference. Where will you start? There’s so much to be thankful for in this world. I’m thankful for five children all of whom have good hearts and the desire to help others. Let’s raise our children with that in mind. Can you imagine what a wonderful world this would be?

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