Parenting Tip: Addressing Selfishness…
At least part of the solution for a child’s selfishness is to learn how to be a servant. Our culture tends to not like that term, but any good employer, spouse, or team player knows how to give up his or her agenda for others at times. That’s servanthood.
Children need to learn how to be servants. It’s not an elective; it’s a required course. Learning to be a servant will help children be better employees, better husbands or wives, and even better parents. It may be helpful to make servanthood a focus for a week or a month in your home. You might create a poster giving a working definition of servanthood that goes something like this:
–Seeking to overcome self-centeredness by looking for ways to help and care for others.
Or for younger children:
–Looking for ways to make other people happy before me.
You might have everyone in the family memorize a verse from the Bible like Philippians 2:4, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Plan ways that each person can practice being a servant. As a parent, you are already serving your children in more ways that they probably appreciate. In fact, you might ask your child to serve by taking on one of the tasks you usually do in family life. This gives an opportunity for you to model appreciation for service.
For example, a child might plan and prepare a meal for the family. That’s more complicated than many children realize. The work required to think of others may be just what some children need to get out of their own selfish patterns. Of course, those being served often respond with delight and appreciation, the built-in reward for servanthood. This kind of role reversal can go a long way in teaching children to value others and appreciate the things people do for them.
www.biblicalparenting.org June 1, 2011