toa heftiba 510010 unsplash

You've all heard it said "do unto others as you would have them do unto you".

As parents we teach our children this virtue normally around the aspect of sharing and being kind to others.

As we put this into practice we soon realize that this is a win-win situation because most often as you treat others correctly, with courtesy and even go out of your way to be nice, you feel good inside and often people treat you in the same way. I believe this is a typical aspect of the Kingdom of God - you are doing the good deed or being kind to another, yet you are the one who feels blessed in the end.

Doing kind things for people can actually be an easy thing to do and as I said you often benefit. Sometimes if you were honest it can help you feel needed and significant. This is sometimes an "out there" deed. By that I mean it is often for one or more people.

I believe there are many aspects of being others oriented and being selfless that is sometimes overlooked. If we conduct ourselves in our homes in such a way that we realize we are living with others and need to be others oriented there too, perhaps we would live differently.

All parents will acknowledge that manners don't just happen, they need to be "practiced", and at home is where it starts. We only have a few precious years with our children to get them ready for life and there is a lot we need to pack in there.

In the home, being others oriented also means leaving a place in such a way that you would like to find it. Realizing that there are others in the home that maybe use that room or work space too. So practically, making sure once I use the bathroom I leave it tidy and clean for the next person using it. If I have friends around for lunch, I clean up after they have all left. Putting my dirty dishes in the dishwasher or washing it.

I can just close the door and no one needs to come into my room.

greta scholderle moller 138623 unsplashSo getting back to the tidy bedroom thing, surely I could say that as long as I'm not sharing a room with anyone, It's only me that is affected. I can just close the door and no one needs to come into my room. I beg to disagree. I believe how you conduct yourself at home spills out into who you are. It's a bit like manners. It needs to be practiced. Where better to practice than in the very space you have been given to look after. I believe if a child is trained to notice that his room is a mess and be aware of picking up his towel off the floor, or putting his clothes in the laundry basket or making his bed, the next natural awareness of being others oriented is so much easier. The child who feels good about himself and his space, is often more organized and generally takes more pride and looks after himself and his possessions with more care.

I believe how you conduct yourself at home spills out into who you are.

The reason this aspect of being others oriented is so much harder to teach is because it is not really an "out there" deed. It only really affects the people closest to you and yourself initially. I would suggest that how you conduct yourself at home is of utmost importance and will affect how you view and treat others.

How practically do I teach my child this?

It starts as a young toddler. Tidy up time, and first time obedience. Allowing them to participate in small chores around the house. Many parents draw up chore charts for their children, I know I did. This is a good way, especially if you have more than one child. Each one knows their responsibility around the house and it minimizes bickering as to who did what. The negative to this way is you could foster, this is my job or responsibility and that is yours and you don't notice anything else. What you are aiming at is, if I notice something needs doing, I do it without being asked. Just like you would want your child to move from doing the right thing for fear of a spanking or punishment, to the heart of the child and doing the right thing for the love of right. I think a chore chart could be a stepping stone to having the attitude, how much can I do to help, not how little can I get away with.

Of course because we are a family, more responsibility will fall with mom as far as the general running of the home goes, but if everyone does their part and considers others coming after them, your home will be a much more harmonious place and I know your child's future spouse will thank you :)

There are many societies where a child will leave home after school at the age of 18 and move into a communal living situation near a college. Can you just imagine how much easier and happier that experience would be if the students lived in such a way where they were considerate of others and cleaned up after themselves?