Part of being a good parent is teaching your kids to be good people, and the best way to do this is be setting an example. When your kids see that you are doing the things that “good people” do, they will automatically catch on.
You don’t have to be Super Woman, or Mother Teresa, you just have to practice responsibility, kindness, compassion and caring. Depending on your own beliefs about what it means to be good, and perhaps the influence of your faith, being a good person might not be exactly the same for you as it is for someone else.
Nevertheless, if you want your kids to be good people, you are going to be the first and main teacher for them. Here are some ways that you can set an example for your children:
• Teach your kids about gratefulness. While your family may not have everything as far as material possessions go, you probably have lots to be grateful for. It’s important to show kids that while life can sometimes be worrisome or disappointing, there are still many good things to be happy about. You can take the lead by expressing happiness about all the good things you have and avoiding too much complaining about what you don’t have.
• Teach your kids about responsibility. As adults, we have to be responsible for a number of things. If we don’t take responsibility, we can suffer some fairly uncomfortable consequences, like penalties for not paying bills on time, or the consequences of not showing up for work on time. You can do your best to set a proper example, and talk to your kids about what it means to be responsible. As they get older, you can give them tasks to be responsible and consequences for choosing to be responsible.
• Teach your kids about kindness. Being kind involves feeling empathy for others, or putting oneself in someone else’s shoes. It means reaching out to others with a smile or a friendly word.
• If you are part of a spiritual community, take your child to services. Even though each religion has its differences, the basis for all of the world’s religions is to treat others as we would like to be treated. Learning this simple, yet powerful concept is part of the foundation of being a good person.
• Treat others with respect. You’re children will learn that treating each other with respect is an important element of being a good person when the see you doing it.
• Be compassionate and caring. Show your children that compassion for others is easy to show and makes a real difference in the world. You can participate in a charity as a family by contributing to food banks, visiting nursing homes, even helping with park clean ups (compassion and caring for the earth). You can offer to help an elderly or disabled neighbor plant some flowers, or take a batch of cookies or a homemade casserole to someone who is recovering from an illness.
The most important thing about teaching a child to be a good person is to set the example and do it without resentment, but will a spirit of love for yourself, your family, your community and the earth. Your kids will see this example and follow it.