A Lesson Learned | Teaching Self-Government

A Lesson Learned

     We came to DC thinking we could get mugged.  We left our hotel this morning, with our money hidden, and pinned in our pockets, and no bags visible to steal.  We were ready to battle the muggers of DC.

In the afternoon, it rained.  To be exact, it poured buckets on our heads.  We only had shopping bags to put over our heads.

A woman saw our pitiful family, and stopped her car in front of us.  She put two black umbrellas out the window of her car.  One of them still had tags on it.  I ran over to the car, and took the umbrellas from her.  After thanking her, I put money on the seat of her car.  She took the money and stuffed it back into my hand.  She said, "No, I don't want you to pay me, I want to give these to your family.  If you want to thank me, do something kind for someone else someday."

What a woman!  I will always remember her as a kind, generous person.  We instantly transformed from people who were waiting for our inevitable mugging, to people inspired by the kindness of a total stranger.  There are good people everywhere.  The longer I live, the more I see this is the case.

This charitable woman reminded me of an important parenting principle that is easy to forget.  Give because you want to.

When your four year old needs help going potty again, your son needs his scout badges sewn on his shirt before tonight, your daughter wants you to change her hair style for the third time that day, or you husband needs  you to help him with a project right as you were going to finally read that book you will NEVER get done, choose to give of yourself because you want to.

We only become frustrated because of selfishness.  We will be happier if we decide that nothing makes us more happy than knowing we made another person happy.  If we can conquer our own selfishness, then our children will be able to conquer their selfish behavior also.