How many of us have read Charles Dickens’ legendary quote from his novel “A Tale of Two Cities”:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..
.it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair,
we had everything before us, we had nothing before us”
and found it relevant to our times? Guess what? It is even relevant to our parenting styles.
In an age where our kids get the best of everything...from crib to toys to food to education to gadgets - replacing the “I want blah, and I want it Now!” attitude and the danger it posts for the future generation with positive entitlements of Respect, Humility, Gratitude and Generosity is essential. Here’s why raising positively entitled kids is a good idea:
The dictionary meaning of Respect is the feeling of deep admiration for someone or something evoked by their abilities, qualities, or achievements. So we respect our boss, our teachers, doctors, a sportsperson, a particular philosophy, a national leader. But history is witness to the disrespect of millions on the basis of nationality, gender, race, economic or social status, disrespect to the environment, and disrespect to Mother Earth.
But as enlightened parents, we have the power to change the course of history. Let’s inculcate the correlation between responsibility and respect in our kids from the time they take their first steps and they will be better inheritors of the earth. Let’s instill in them that the more responsible students, siblings, citizens and netizens they are, the more respect they will gain.
Each child is unique. It is what makes them special. There’s no doubt about that. But while we make our child realize how special they are, it is also essential to make them realize that in the larger scheme of things, what a minuscule part of the universe we are. An intrinsic part of humility is the ability to consider the needs and feelings of others ahead of oneself. If a child is taught humility and being sensitive to other’s needs and feelings from a young age, the result will be a child who can think beyond herself and believes in a team effort. One who understands the value of the contribution other people make in achieving a goal.
The most important life skill, ‘Gratitude’ shifts one’s focus from what we don’t have or desire - to all the things that we already possess. It opens our eyes to our blessings. An attitude of gratitude is paramount to happiness in life.
If we instill gratitude in kids from the very beginning, they will grow up to be better adults who find peaceful solutions to problems. They will cherish the rights they enjoy and nurture the freedom they possess.
One of the most powerful principals we can instill in our children is to be generous. In order to live a life of generosity, one does not have to be limited by one’s income. Being generous with our belongings, being willing to go the extra mile, sharing and giving unconditionally to someone else are all cornerstones of generosity. When we are generous with our time, our attitudes towards others, our possessions and our encouragement to others, it is far more valuable and long lasting than being generous with our money.
Let’s teach our children that the more generous they are, the more empowered they become!
All of us lead busy lives. But we are better than the sum of our to-do lists. Let’s put the gadgets away for a little while every now and then and spend time together as a family. Remember, it is “the best of times” if we spend it together and can be “the worst of times” if spent apart. Let’s choose well and raise a positively entitled generation!