Life Lesson #12: Who’s selfish? The kids or me?

It just dawned on me that all kids are altruistic. Somehow somewhere along the line, they learn the mentality of scarcity and start to hoard things for themselves.

Last week, I was discussing the issue of happiness with them and trying to impress on them that we don’t need material things to be happy, but if we learn to give from our hearts, that’s where we will find happiness. 

We were sponsored a really beautiful shower head from GROHE and I used the opportunity to ask them if they would like to give that up to another child. I made it real to them by telling them that many other children are not as lucky as them to be living in a big new house with such nice spacious bathrooms, and a gift like that would surely brighten up another child’s day. Honestly I was surprised that they agreed to give it away without much hesitation (although #3 did say, “But it’s really really nice, mum”). I’m quite sure that was the end of it for them and they never thought about it again.

But you know what? I thought about it the whole day. Especially when I read your comments on our Facebook page about how pretty it was and how delighted your kids would be to receive it. And I was asking myself why in the world did I suggest to the kids to give it away.

“Give money to the cow?”

I thought back to the other times when I asked them to be charitable and their generosity became apparent to me. The fact that #4 decided to donate her entire collection of rainbow loom charms to raise funds for the chronically ill children without second thought. The previous time when I asked them if they would like to donate any of their pocket money to help the dear elderly nuns, I told them the story of how their convent was old and leaking. #1 did not donate, but the other girls donated between $30 and $120 each, and #5 even told me to take all the money from his piggy bank.

I realise that so long as you tell kids the story behind it, their natural response is to help. Sadly, as we grow older, we become apathetic to other people’s plight. Perhaps if we keep giving them opportunities to practice being charitable it will become second nature to them.

I am still peering into their hearts and learning from them, and maybe one day, I am able to say “Here, take everything I have.”

Other life lessons (which I’ve learnt the hard way):

Life Lesson #2: Don’t over-sacrifice
Life Lesson #4: My bucket list
Life Lesson #6: Passion vs Family

Linking up with:


~ – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

6 Replies to “Life Lesson #12: Who’s selfish? The kids or me?”

  1. I think it's a great suggestion to bless someone else with a nice gift like that, and so good to hear that they were all ready to give it away. I think generosity and giving is probably caught, not taught. Although consciously seeking out/giving them opportunities to put it in practice, I feel, is the part that most of us need to work on. Thanks for sharing, mummy wee.

  2. Gosh, you are right! It is definitely caught, not taught. We have to show by our own examples too. I also realised that the more I give them opportunities to give, the more open they are to it. Now, I only have to start explaining one or two sentences, and they are ready to ask, "So what do you want us to do/give?"

  3. Wonderful lessons! : ) Glad to return to your blog from little lessons link. I've liked your FB pg quite some time ago, but don't get your feeds at all. I seldom use google do you have the follow through e-mail server? Otherwise, i've gotta just remember to pop by your blog for updates! ; ) Love what you're doing! God bless!

  4. Hi, thanks for your support 🙂 Hmm, maybe try unliking and liking again? Don't know if that will reset it. You can also get updates via blog loving feed. I'm really not great at this techie stuff… slowly working on getting more connected!

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