Respect for others. It’s easy to dismiss it as not as important as respect for self or developing grit or even learning to apologize.
This couldn’t be more false!
Respect for others makes kids appreciate their own life and the people in it.
“Respect for others makes kids humble and strong.”
For example no matter how rich or poor you are, there are always those that are either richer or poorer. Understanding this is important for your child to get a perspective on his or her life.
How do you develop respect for others? Volunteer!
There are several ways that a child can volunteer their time. The best news is that you can volunteer with them making it not only a great way to teach respect for others but a time spent bonding with them.
Serve in a food kitchen
Find a local food kitchen and volunteer with your child. Show up on the appointed day and you will get your assignment. I did this a few weeks ago. While it wasn’t the first time for me, it was for my oldest boy. He was shy as this was a new environment but he quickly got used to the other volunteers and the homeless people we were serving. Seeing people who didn’t have food on a regular basis and who were very grateful for a hot meal and a roof over their head was a very sobering experience for my son.
After our time was up, we went to the local sandwich place to talk. He told me he never knew how many people in our community were hungry and asked me how they got that way.
We discussed homeless vets, mental illness, and some bad things that happen to good people. All of this while not always happy provided my son a perspective of how lucky he is and that others should be respected even if they are not as well of as we are.
Clean up a park
Near our house, there is a really small park. It’s nothing really, just a few trees and a playground for the kids. It’s also close to a road so over time drivers throw out trash out the window and into the park. As you can imaging, it gets disgusting pretty quickly. My wife and son volunteered a local hospital to clean up the park.
On a chilly Sunday morning, they got up, ate breakfast and drove to the park. They were joined by a small group of hospital employees and other volunteers who also braved the cold to help clean up the park. Slowly at first then much quicker they used their picks and shovels to pick up the newspapers, food wrappers, crossword puzzles, and other assorted debris until the park was reasonably clean.
How does this help with respect for others?
“Taking care of something bigger than them helps your kids respect others.”
My son was able to clean up a park that gives joy to many of our neighbors by providing a place to eat and play in the shade. He and his brother played many times on the very same playground he helped clean up. This was a very satisfying experience for him to serve something bigger than himself.
Help a family down on their luck
“Anyone can have a disaster, anyone.”
A child in my youngest son’s kindergarten class had an unthinkable tragedy. Her mom suddenly died in a horrible car crash. The girl was only 5 years old.
While I wish that I thought of how to help her, I can’t take credit. The kindergarten teacher used a signup sheet for families to help out. We volunteered to have the girl play with my son and my wife. Having suddenly lost her mother, I’m sure it made a difference to have my wife around.
“Kids should appreciate the people in their lives.”
In summary, my sons learned firsthand that volunteering is a great way to gain not only an appreciation of their lives but a deep respect for others. I can only hope that they carry this with them for their entire lives and pass it along to their children.
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