August 23, 2013

How To Foster A Generous Spirit In A "Gimme" Generation

Can you imagine how nice it would be to be surrounded by a generation of young people who put others first and truly cared about other people? Do you know […]


Can you imagine how nice it would be to be surrounded by a generation of young people who put others first and truly cared about other people? Do you know kids and teens who are honorable and respectful, and who set a good example for people of all ages? Unfortunately, it seems those examples are becoming fewer and farther between in our society today.

Today our culture tends to raise an entire generation of spoiled-rotten kids who think only of themselves. It’s a "give me now" generation. But your children don’t have to be counted among these spoiled-rotten brats. You can turn this situation into something good!

That’s what my husband and I have chosen to do with our children. See, I believe we would be doing our kids a huge disservice if we did not teach them to serve others. If we allowed our kids to grow up to become spoiled-rotten, greedy, selfish pigs, we would not be doing our jobs as parents.

So we have groomed a selfless, generous, giving spirit in each of them from a very young age. It came very naturally for some of our kids, and for others it did not. But the truth is, it can be cultivated in any child or adult.

When our daughter, Arika, was 11, we sent her to an outreach program in San Francisco. She was the youngest member of the team, and she lived with them on the streets in a bus while they served the homeless in San Francisco. This little wealthy kid from Northern California served them, washed their feet, cut their hair and prepared food for them.

This experience wrecked her. In fact, a month later, we were at a 5-Star restaurant in San Francisco when Arika looked out the window and said, "Mommy, there’s one of my homies!" She looked at me and added, "I’m sorry, but if it’s okay with you, I want to give my food to the homeless." So we each packaged up our food into 5 separate containers and went walking through the streets to give the food away.

I’ll say this again: You do not have to raise spoiled brats who say, "Gimme…I want…I need…NOW!" Instead, you can help your children become well-rounded people with a good perspective on life.

There’s one more good example of grooming this selfless, generous spirit into a child I want to share with you today. When our oldest son, Cabe, turned 5, he had a huge birthday party. He was lavished with a ridiculous amount of gifts — more than any 5-year-old could ever want!

When everyone left, we sat him down and said, "Cabe, you know what? There’s a little boy who’s having his birthday today, but there’s no party for him. His mom and dad can’t afford it because they’re living in a shelter. Cabe, would you like to bless a little boy who does not have this kind of blessing?" Cabe responded, "Yes! Where is he?"

So I said to him, "Pick 5 things you want to keep, and we’ll put the rest in the car and deliver it to the little boy right now!" And that’s exactly what we did.

Now, our children are no different than other kids. All kids have selfish tendencies, but they can be groomed to have an unselfish heart that is eager to give, serve and help others. This will prepare them for their future as a spouse, parent, employee or business person.

So let’s do what we can to equip the next generation to succeed in life. Let’s prepare them to create a better society, a better economy, a better world than we live in today. I truly believe we can do that. But it has to start with each of us choosing to train them up with good habits and good morals.

Pass this message on to all your friends and family members, church leaders, teachers, babysitters, and everyone who has kids or knows kids. We’re all in this together, and we can make a difference! (Just post this link on your social media sites, or print it out and pass it around!)

I’ll talk to you live Sunday night on The Dani Johnson Show! Be sure to tune in on your TV and radio at 9 pm ET/8 pm CT.


In great faith,


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