Like other parents, we often think and reflect on how we are raising our children.
We teach respect for others, manners and try to instill values in our two boys. Adam and I are from the Midwest and we strive to teach them the Midwestern values where people aren’t isolated from their neighbors and truly care for others.
In Nebraska, people wave at each other on the highway as they pass each other’s car and flash headlights to warn other drivers of upcoming speed traps. We hold doors open for other people and say ‘Thank you’ every time a door is held open for us.
We wave at the driver of the car who stops so we can cross a street or parking lot. We play the good host to everyone we encounter as it’s engrained in our upbringing. These are things we are teaching our boys.
It’s not enough, though.
I want my children to learn to appreciate everything they have. Our culture is one of the richest in the world.
Walmart and shopping malls are not commonplace, yet they are prevalent here. This summer we had the pleasure of having an exchange student from Spain stay with us. Our local Fry’s was the largest grocery store he had been in. Keep in mind, Spain is a first-world country.
We have pre-mixed chocolate milk and more than 10 kinds of Pringles. We even have peanut butter, which is an American thing.My children need to travel. They need to be exposed to different cultures and ways of life. There are many children who do not own a Nintendo DS or Leapster Explorer. They need to visit historical places and read about the lives of children 100 hundred years ago.
Most of all, they need to volunteer. My oldest is 6 and I would love ideas of local volunteer opportunities for him if you have any. He’s learning the value of hard work, but he also needs to experience the satisfaction of being a part of something bigger than himself.
My youngest is 2 so he’s not quite ready, but I hope to have the volunteer process down to a science for when it’s his turn.