By Joey and Carla Link
July 14, 2021
Have you ever heard the term “the preciousness of others”? We learned we needed to work on this principle with our kids in the parenting class “Growing Kids God’s Way”. So how can you teach your kids to think of others as “precious”? “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significantthan yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests,but also to the interests of others.”Philippians 2:3-4 (bold/italics added) People say the Bible doesn’t have much to say about raising your kids. We disagree. The Bible has everything to say about teaching your kids the character God wants them to live by. Let’s take a look at this verse. If you have listened to any of the Mom’s Notes presentations you know I (Carla) am big on looking up the definition of words. I want to know exactly what they mean. Let’s start with the word “rivalry”. It involves 2 or more people who are competing against each other. “Rivals” are in a 24/7 power struggle. “Conceit” is “excessive pride in oneself.”
So, according to these definitions, we should all be teaching our kids NOT to compete with others, especially their siblings for power because the one who starts a rivalry is telling all others he/she is better than they are. Strong-willed kids are masters at starting rivalries with their siblings and parents.Next, we should be teaching our kids what to do, and that is to treat others/siblings as more significant than they think they, themselves are. Don’t worry about their self-esteem. God gave all of us a healthy self-esteem when he created us. To think of others as “significant”, is to think they are “important enough to be worthy of their attention.” Oh, and when your kids treat others, (meaning you and their siblings) as being worthy of their time and attention, they need to have a humble attitude! To be “humble” is to be “free from pride or arrogance”. Proud, arrogant kids think they are better than others to the point of exaggerating their importance. When working with your kids, have them look up the definitions of these words, then talk about this verse together.
If you are teaching your kids to treat others to be more significant than they are, you are teaching them to treat others as if they are important enough to play with and share their possessions with. When they win a game, they need to remember what it is like to lose so they don’t lord it over the others. And they need to do this with an attitude that says, “We are in this together.”
Humble adults & kids:
- Know the difference between a healthy self-esteem and being too confident in oneself
- Take responsibility for their actions rather than blame others
- Are thankful for what they have and to those who show them kindness
- They look for people who need or especially appreciate being treated with kindness, like kids no one else plays with, disabled people, the elderly (their grandparents) and so on.
When our girls were teens, they made friends with widows in our church who didn’t have family in the area. They drove them to their doctor appointments and earned money to pay for their lunch. They invited them to their music events at school. They had a Mother’s Day brunch for them and we invited them to Thanksgiving and Christmas and birthday parties. These ladies became their prayer warriors and have stood by them to this day. Who was blessed more by their “thinking of others first? Our girls will readily tell you they were. How can you teach your kids to think of others as better than themselves? You will be surprised to find how simple this can be by using two phrases. Next time your kids are headed for trouble, pull them aside individually and ask this question: “Who are you thinking of right now?” followed by “Who should you be thinking of right now?” Your child will respond he is thinking of himself.
- Ask him who he should be thinking of. He will respond he should be thinking of others.
- Given the circumstance your child is in at the moment, get specifics. Ask him who he should be thinking about right now. (The sibling he just hit; the sister whose toy he just broke, even accidentally; you, for not taking the trash out)
- Then ask him to think of one way he can show this person he is willing to put their needs above his own.
- When your child comes up with something, ask him if he is willing to do it right then. If he says “No,” he gets to sit and do nothing (including talk and get out of the chair) until he is willing to do what he came up with.
- Unless your child is under five years of age, resist the temptation to tell him what he could do to show ‘preciousness’ to the one he offended.
Teaching your kids to think of the preciousness of others starts in the home with you and their siblings. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”Ephesians 4:32