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Sacrifice vs. Selfishness
We live in a very selfish, self-centered world. If you look around at all the crime, the valueless
people, and most of the atrocities throughout the world, they are largely based in selfishness and self-gratification.
Being a parent is a role of healthy and rewarding sacrifice; unfortunately, that sacrifice is
one reason not all choose to be a parent. It is much easier to have only one person to care for
and about; ME.
It is very interesting to me that even people I thought could never enjoy being a
parent find that the role of parenthood gives them greater joy than any other. Not long ago on
the news Hugh Hefner was spotlighted because he was celebrating his birthday. The reason I
mention this is not because I am a fan of his or of anything that he has done or stands for. His lifestyle has been opposite my own. I
found that the interview with him was very enlightening though. He is married now with two cute little
kids. He said (and I am going by memory and paraphrasing) that he is finding more happiness
now with his family and that he is happier than he has ever been. I'm sure he is not happy
because those little children are paying him for being a parent, waiting on him, or bringing him
greater wealth. He is happy because he is giving to them and serving them. Part of being a
parent should mean taking on a Christ-like attitude of service, with charity and love.
When a baby is born, that child cannot do anything for himself. The child's life is
dependent upon giving parents. As the child grows, the child can do more and more for himself
but the parents still invest time, energy, emotion, love and money for the child's benefit. The
challenge then comes, to teach that lesson of sacrifice over selfishness to your child. I've found
the best way is to let the child sacrifice time and energy for family too. Chores can be a way of
teaching this. If a child is actively involved in maintaining family and home and having to give
up play time to that end, he will appreciate the home and family to a greater degree. We have
even had children want to contribute in small ways when we wanted to do something and were
short of cash to do that particular thing, The children that were involved appreciated the
experience and were more grateful for the opportunity to be able to do that thing. They didn't
have the feeling that I see so very much from kids, "You owe me this, and I want it now!"
The service of helping with and doing things for siblings is another big area of growth for
children. We have had our middle school age, 7th and 8th grade kids ( the latest 3 that is) stay at
home from school on independent study. This age is an age of discovering who they are and at
times pulling away from family. I've found it very interesting, that those kids who have been
home more and who are at home when everyone else is at school, seem to enjoy being with the
little kids at home and learn to perform little acts of service for those siblings. Again sacrificing
and overcoming selfishness a little bit.
We have never paid our kids to baby-sit their siblings or to do their work at home. These
things are tokens of love. Any monetary payment would take away from that feeling of love and
begin the feeling of "you owe me". As a parent, you must get comfortable with showing your
children love and appreciation. Sometimes people find it easier to give money or things, since
these do not require emotional exposure; but love and true appreciation need to be primary
currency in the family. A sacrifice is made by one member of the family for the benefit of all .
Our children have such a strong bond of love between themselves and hopefully with us, their
parents, because we all sacrifice to help one another. That doesn't mean that they never argue
and that life is perfect, but the strong base of love is an anchor. There cannot be harmony with
2 children or 10 or 12 where selfishness leads the way. Another word for sacrifice is Love.