Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Project Hope Week 2 and A Rant About Child Rearing

One of the things that I want to instill in Shecky is a sense of altruism. I want him to have the desire to help others when there's nothing "in it" for him other than having done something that makes a difference to someone. I'm finding its one of the most difficult lessons to teach him.

I informed him two days ago that we will be going through his MULTITUDE of toys and boxing up many of them that he no longer plays with. I explained that we would be donating them to a local shelter for kids that were much less fortunate than him. Kids who's mommy's and daddy's were cruel to them. Kids who were beaten and abused by their parents and forced to leave them for their own safety. I told him how, many times, these kids have nothing to give them comfort or make them smile and feel happy. His response to me? "But... ::sniffle:: they're... MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE!!!!"

I know, I know he's only 6. He's an only child. He's spoiled ROTTEN by us AND his grandparents. Blah, Blah, BLAH! I'm at a loss as to how to make him understand how important looking beyond himself and his "wants" is. We've been cracking down on his misconception that every time he goes into Walmart he gets something. We've been limiting his time for doing what he wants and started making him do things that are necessary yet "not fun" or "not fair" (at least in HIS estimation).

I really am beginning to fear I've failed my child and waited too long to start impressing this ideal upon him. He's a great kid. He's got a loving heart. He's just so damn self-involved it makes me wanna scream. I don't want him to be a brat as he grows older. Any suggestions? Anyone else having these issues? Am I just overreacting? Am I expecting to much of him? Am I failing him?

I found this story about a teenage girl who took her parents similar desire into her heart and her own hands and did something AMAZING with it. She's my hero for the week. Go read her story!


C said...

You can make this more real by involving him in the process. Have him help you sort through the toys and talk about what kind of kid might like what. Then take him with you when you drop them off. Have the staff/volunteers at the shelter/police station/Goodwill talk to him about the kids who will get the toys.

At his age he doesn't have any context for what you are asking of him. It just looks like things are being taken away, not that they are going to someone. It might help if you could close that loop.

Tessa said...

Thanks for the suggestions C. :) He IS going to help sort through the toys with me and he knows that. Its nice to have validation on that being a good idea. Poor kid. All night, that night, he kept getting up and telling me not to give such and such a toy away because he JUST started playing with it again that day. He's traumatized lol.

Taking him with me to drop the items off was something I hadn't considered. I'll have to talk to the shelter folks and see if he could maybe give some of the toys directly to some kids to make it have some context for him. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

hey tessa,
when Brattling was about ten years old, I did the same thing when he asked for a new video game system for Christmas. Not wanting to have more than one in the house, I told him we would consider getting it for him if he would consider giving his old one to a charity for other kids who don't have one. The next day, he boxed it up, along with some games and together we took it to the charity drive. You should have seen the look on the faces of the ladies when he took it up to them and told them he wanted to give his old game system and games to kids that didn't have one.
Keep doing what your doing and C's suggestions are excellent ones. They do work! Good luck and don't worry...Shecky will catch on.

Oh, The Joys said...

What a wonderful thing to teach him to give to others.