Raising Good Humans

Richard Weissbourd, a Harvard psychologist with the graduate school of education, has been studying the act of teaching kids to be kind. “Children are not born simply good or bad and we should never give up on them. They need adults who will help them become caring, respectful, and responsible for their communities at every stage of their childhood,” he says. 
In a world full of negativity (abusive homes, violent video games, classrooms out of control, mall shootings, & drug overdoses just to name a few) how in the world can we instill the importance of being kind to others and overall just being a nice person? Well, I am not a professor but I know one thing: it starts at home. Here are some things you can do with your mini-me(s) to get the ball rolling. 

Work as a TEAM
Lets say you’re at a play date and your kiddo has single-handedly destroyed their little friend’s toy room. Do you just say “Oh we had fun! See you next time!” or do you offer to help pick up? 
When a friend or neighbor has lost a loved one do you verbally send your condolences or do you make a meal for them so they have one less thing to worry about that day? 
If you choose to help your play date host why not get your little one involved? Sing the ever popular clean up song and help your child put away some blocks (even if your friend says not to). Or have your seven year old help you choose what meal to send to the grieving family. Get the kids involved in the decision making AND the follow through. Ya know, there is no I in team. 

I’m not talking about joining the PTA or signing up to coach your little league team (not that those aren’t valiant efforts, don’t get me wrong). I am talking about going down to the community homeless shelter and serving meals. Or going to the humane society and walking a dog that has been cooped up in a cage for a day. Or working with Habitat for Humanity to help build a home for someone who really needs it.  And doing it more than once. And then talking about it with your children. Let them know how awesome it feels to do something for someone who can never do anything in return. Talk about a natural high! 


Be Random
Our children do this all the time already. Have you ever received a pretty picture just because? Or been given a bouquet of dandelions on a warm summer day? It melts my heart when I turn down my blanket at night and find a sweet note from my little girl. Let your kiddo see you do something nice for someone just because. Pay for the next person’s Starbucks. Put some flowers on your neighbor’s front step. Send a note to your best friend who is two thousand miles away. Give a smile and a hug to the mom who seems to be having a bad day. Or pull over to help the elderly woman who needs assistance crossing the street. What do you have to lose? 

Expand Your Circle
Children pay close attention to what is happening around them. They live inside this little bubble where mostly everything revolves around what they say, think, or do. As their parents though it is our very challenging job to help them realize that their actions, whatever they are, affect more than just them. Every action has some sort of consequence and they get to choose whether it will be good or bad. Talk to your five year old about how their temper and name calling at the play date hurt their friend’s feelings even though they were the one who was really mad. Or let your teen know that the school librarian saw him sticking up for the new kid in class. And let them see you being polite to strangers; saying hi to someone at the store, thanking the server at the restaurant, or just letting someone with a few less items go ahead of you at the grocery. 

Raising children today is definitely not easy but if we can all remember The Golden Rule we can make things just a little bit better. 
Co-Director & Membership Coordinator
Born & raised in Central Illinois & moved to Indy in 2008. Megan LOVES to stay busy & be social. She volunteers, dabbles in photography, travels & thoroughly enjoys music and the Cubs. She is currently the Security Director for the Whale of a Sale, A Daisy Troop Leader, Girl Scouts School Organizer, Nanny, and wife to an incredible man who works super hard so she can stay home and do all of these fun things. Oh, she also runs a local non-profit called Pals On Patrol Follow her on Twitter @supermommymegan

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