Monday, September 8, 2008

Raising Unselfish Children

I recently finished a great book called "Raising Unselfish Children in a Self-Absorbed World," by Jill Rigby. After reading my friend Abbey's blog today and hearing about her new commitment to give up cable, it inspired me to post (rant) about the great things I learned from this book.

One of the biggest premises of Raising Unselfish Children was, as parents, we need to be content ourselves. This is something I am very passionate about because I have struggled with it quite a bit throughout my life and it hasn't been until recently that I have really started learning to resist the temptation of getting caught up in our culture of "more".

In the book, the author says: "Some folks say we need nothing more than a roof, clothing, food and four wheels for transportation. Others say we need homes with a bedroom for every child, fashionable clothing, delectable food, and vehicles with a bit more than four wheels. Still others say that beyond this we need European antiques and oriental rugs to properly appoint our homes, the trendiest accessories to adorn our bodies, gourmet coffee with cream to satisfy our palate, and OnStar to guide our vehicles. We also need five thousand square feet of space for our family of four, designer handbags and computer bags to complete our look, sushi and imported cigars three times a week, the latest movies for the DVD player in our luxury SUV, and of course a full entertainment system in our home theater. Enough is never enough." She goes on to say that "the average cost of a luxury kitchen remodel is $57,000. That's $10,000 more than it costs to build a typical Habit for Humanity home." As my friend Abbey says in her post " I guess it is all about perspective."

The author continues on with tons of really great, practical tips to help "bump your children off self-center," including spending family time together, intentionally living with less, serving together, demonstrating compassion and developing it in your children, teaching age-appropriate responsibility and nurturing God-confidence.

Honestly, I never thought much about these concepts until I had to start making decisions in raising children. Now they are critically important to me in a culture where "we yearn for newer, bigger, faster. And when we get it, we still want more." I could write several more pages on this book but the bottom line is: as our children grow up they will be surrounded by a society of go, go, go and more, more, more. I pray that Micah and I are able to teach them something different in our home, than what they see in the world.

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2


Kirk and Abbey said...

Good thoughts, Sandy! Although now I've told the world we are giving up cable, I guess there is no going back. :) In moments of weakness, we tempt ourselves to give it 6 more months instead of 6 more days....

I was spurred onto this topic by a book I read this summer: "Serve God, Save the Planet" by J. Matthew Sleeth. Totally convicting. He makes some great points about how we think that we have a "right" to so many things that really are just luxuries. Since when did we hear a sermon on rejecting materialism? When was the last time we heard a sermon on saving God's creation?

He also makes an comparison to the American economy's dependence on African American slaves in the 18th century to our dependence on foreign oil and consumption today. Both were/are relying on "cheap energy regardless of the moral cost." How's that for convicting? I'm going to have to blog on this one...

I'll have to check out your book recommendation. We want to raise Claire with a proper perspective, too.

Marty, Sarah, and Jack Dillard said...

Sandy- what a meaningful blog. I too work on my desire to consume vs. "what do I need" and "don't I already have enough anyway?" Haven't read this book, but I am going to order. I appreciate your thoughts & openness to share your feelings.

It's Dangerous to Pick a Nurses Brain said...

I've been exploring lately, the idea of being a 'woman at rest,' and what that means in the way I live my life. And what you wrote definitally has it's place in that idea, are we woman who are always 'striving' and pushing forward for more and more, and cluttering our homes, hearts and minds with stuff...or are we at rest and content with what we have. I love it...I will have to put that book on my list.