This week, I'm turning 50 and I thought the best gift I would receive was finishing the first draft of my book, Thrive & Help Thrive. The concept of the book is the more we leverage our True Net Worth (our talents, trusts, treasures & time) towards making a positive difference in the world, the greater our own experience of thriving. Getting this idea into the world is my own Thrive & Help Thrive project of helping to make the world a better place. It is something that I have been formulating and working on for a very long time, so the pride of having a tangible draft in my hands is particularly delightful for me as I close out the first half century (OMG, that sounds old) of my life.
But that pales in comparison to the gift I received yesterday. Yesterday, in my 15 year old daughter's parent/teacher conference, I learned the extent to which my daughter has put the ideas of my book into action. Her teacher explained to us that there is a family where due to the mother's illness, they no longer have an income and had to post a plea on Facebook, asking for financial support. Hearing this, my daughter suggested that her class should do something to help. No one in the class knew this family personally, but they rallied behind the idea and decided to have a bake sale to raise money. Creating posters advertising, "Help make a difference in the lives of others," her class was able to raise over $3,000 to donate to this family! As we listened, our jaws dropped in surprise because we had only heard about this bake sale, in passing from our teenager. Not only did the class raise this money, but they were so invigorated and empowered by the experience, that they are already planning the next project they want to do to help.
Nothing makes parents more proud than seeing their child embody their values and to give selflessly to others. From coaching parents on how to raise empowered rather than entitled children and raising two children of my own, I have found 3 things that are particularly useful in passing your values down to your children.
1. What is Most Important to You?
Do you know exactly what you value most and why? Have you clearly articulated those values to your partner and children? Most people have a working sense of their values, but have never actually taken the time to explore and to concretize them fully. Making your values explicit to yourself and your family is a powerful way to help you live more fully from these beliefs.
2. Walk Your Talk
When your values and actions are aligned, you become a person of integrity, a role model. No one is quicker to recognize where you say one thing, but do another, than your children. Telling your kids what's right is one thing, but demonstrating your beliefs through your actions makes a much bigger impact. Once you've articulated your values, find opportunities to live them and give your children the chance to join you in this.
3. Get Curious
What are the values that most resonate with your kids? It's great to share your values with them and also to help your children discover their own values. Getting curious about what they think is a great way to engage with your children and to show them you are interested in their views. To really walk your talk, find opportunities together, to take actions based on what they believe.
When we asked our daughter why she hadn't shared more about the bakesale with us, she replied, "all I did was make a suggestion and bake some cupcakes." And here is where the real power of giving comes through — what is easy for you can make a world of difference in the life of someone else!
So to my wonderful daughter, thank you for giving your mother the most amazing gift ever (even though I know you are going to kill me for writing this about you).