Caring for others is an important practical skill which many children are not now being taught. And much of it begins in the home.

We teach our children kindness and thoughtfulness in a variety of ways. Some of those ways are:

1. By example. We are kind to one another, we help each other when there is a genuine need.

2. By not giving too much. We don't help them when they are being manipulative, or when they really should do it for themselves.

3. By allowing them to serve us. When we are ill, it is ok, and indeed can be a good thing, to allow our children (within age appropriate expectations) to bring us a blanket or a drink of water, or to otherwise help us in kind ways. When I was pregnant with my daughter Sidney, I was on bed rest for 2 months. My older children were very helpful and attentive, even going so far as to take turns staying with me while the rest went out to play. It helped them mature a lot, and gave them a special love for their little sister.

4. By encouraging family participation in activities that teach them to work without monetary compensation. Scouting offers opportunities for this, as do some other civic organizations and church organizations. We have participated in town cleanup, concessions, and other events where we worked without pay.

5. By encouraging your kids to help people just because they need it. In the winter our children go snow shoveling, and they shovel walks for a group of people who cannot afford to pay them for it. This is just part of their day, and they do not expect to get paid.

Service has two major benefits:

It teaches your children to be aware of more needs than just their own.

It teaches them how to work for reasons other than what they expect to get out of it.

Both of those qualities will assist them greatly in maintaining healthy relationships in their lives, and in being a productive employee in a work environment.