Teaching children to be both!
Generosity is a virtue, a Gift of Character that every child and human have within. Everyone can give to others freely just because they want to do so. Generosity begins with knowing that there is enough for everyone and when we share what is valuable to us there is joy on both sides, for the giver and the receiver.
There is a difference between generosity and charity, though. When we give to those that have any or very few of their treasures that we are practicing charity. When we give and share with others things that we value, are our favorites we are generous. Imagine if you were awakening the gift of generosity in your child you might ask them if they would be “generous and share their stuff toy or blanket with their sibling”? That is generosity!
If you were to give the blanket to someone who was in need of one, you would be practicing charity. As a family, we would like to practice both of these gifts. How can you encourage your child to be generous with their treasures by sharing them with other family members or visiting friends? At the same time, we want to practice charity by giving up treasures that others may be able to use.
Being generous with our things is one way of noticing opportunities to give and share with those we know and are close to us. It is the beginning of learning to discern when those outside our circle of the family are in need and finding it within us to give to them freely also.
Each month we will discuss one life skill with all of our students. This month’s skill is Generosity. This life skill will be defined in the following ways for our students.
Young students: I give to others!
Older students: Giving of one’s time, treasures, and talents without expecting anything in retur.
We are not your typical after school activity, in fact, we are an education center, working with students on physical self-defense skills while empowering families to bring out the best in our children and ourselves – through the martial arts. We believe every child has 52 gifts in them already. They only need to be taught how to grow and use them in their life. Balanced Life Skills serves parents, teachers, and students to reach that goal.
To get beyond our feelings of anger towards another person one simple thinking technique is to use the virtue of empathy and understanding. Empathy and understanding do not require that we agree with the other person. However it does mean that you are listening to them, acknowledging them, and are willing to discuss the two points of view.
Just asking yourself what the other person is feeling right now is a good first step. They may be afraid of losing something that is important to them or they physically be tired, sick or anxious about another event. All of these could create a response that does not fit into what we would like or expect.
You could also then ask, What is really important to them now. It is possible that some world affair is on their mind and they may have very strong view that do not fit the way you are thinking. But if it is important to them they may express themselves strongly wanting to be heard and understood.
Finally ask, How they are viewing this situation. They may see or hear this situation as a confrontation and it may not be so in your mind. Keeping in mind how they see or feel the subject at hand gives us insight into where the person’s point of view is coming from.
Using our empathy skills is a fundamental way of helping us be less angry.
When it comes to anger, there are ways of calming ourselves and managing anger safely and appropriately. There are many things that we can do, and each of us needs to find what works for us. You will hear some say “Take three deep breaths.” or “Count to ten backward.” or take a break and excuse yourself from the situation for a few minutes while you regain control. All of these are really about pausing and thinking about what your goal is in this relationship you are engaging.
Anger is a feeling we get when things are not going the way we wished or wanted it to go. It happens to everyone, both young and old. It may have been a goal that we had, or there may be a frustration about not getting a need met. As a parent, we have a goal that our children behave in a particular way. When that goal is not complied with by the child, we may get angry. If we are in a relationship and the other person does not meet our expectations in the way they respond to us we may feel anger welling up inside of us.