While on the phone the other day with my sister-in-law, she made mention of how pleasantly surprised she was that her adult children are kind, compassionate, giving people.
My response? “Why would you be surprised?” I then reminded her of the following. “Ever since your kids could hold a crayon or pencil you had them writing thank-you notes for gifts, before they were allowed to play with them. When they complained, you didn’t argue or threaten. You simply said ‘If the person took the time to buy you something, then the least you can do is thank them with a note.” You enforced the ‘no-play’ rule until they did.
I then reminded her that at holiday time both her children picked out one of the toys they received and as a family they went to a shelter and gave them to a child who wouldn’t have gotten anything. They also brought food for a holiday meal.
My sister-in-law taught her children important life lessons by allowing them to make choices, feel good about their blessings, and more importantly feel good about seeing the faces of kids who otherwise wouldn’t have gotten anything.
My nephew serves in the Air Force. My niece has spent holidays working for Habitat for Humanity. While my brother and sister-in-law aren’t perfect people (no one is), they have given their kids a huge gift.
Not everything we do has a financial pay off. Sometimes the pay-off is that you know that you did something to make someone else’s life just a little bit better.