Raising World Changers – Neighbours Next

Do you want to combat entitlement in your family?

Do you want your kids to stop fighting?

Do you desire to see your kids being kind and helping others?

Being kind and serving others results in benefits for everyone. When you teach your children to be kind and help others, you notice that they fight less, express gratitude and thankfulness more often, and improve their problem-solving ability. The best part is that entitlement diminishes.

Last blog post, I encouraged everyone to be kind to their immediate family and to look at ways they could show kindness to each other. I believe showing love to your family is integral to raising world changers. In this blog, I encourage you to change the world by changing your neighbour’s world.

I was fortunate to grow up with a mother who displayed extraordinary kindness to our neighbours. When I was growing up on our farm, we always seemed to have an endless supply of neighbours dropping in for a cuppa and a chat. Mum was a fantastic listener to them. A few middle-aged bachelors also came, and mum would always invite them to stay for dinner (& then promptly ask my sister and me to entertain them whilst she milked the cows). Mum was forever cooking meals for people experiencing life events that brought about change. She modelled it so well that when mum died, her closest neighbour cooked and brought in a week’s supply of meals for us.

I love how my kids have integrated loving their neighbours into their life. Matey has just finished mowing the neighbour’s lawn. Whenever he makes biscuits or muffins, he always delivers a couple to her for her afternoon tea – only a couple of muffins, as she lives alone. When our elderly neighbour was still alive in the unit behind our home, Matey would clean out her gutters, I would reverse her car down her drive into her garage for her, and Princess would paint her toenails for her before this lady went out. We would collect her mail and put out her garbage bin, and bring it back. There are many things you can do to help older people make their life easier so they can continue to live at home.

When we shifted into this street 18 years ago, we letter boxed the street and invited all the neighbours to a street Christmas party. I was heavily pregnant with Matey, as we held it one week before his birth. Several neighbours commented how they had lived in this street for over 40 years and had thought a street Christmas party would be a great idea, but they had never got around to it. We have organised it every year since, apart from one year when I was exhausted and let the neighbours know I couldn’t do it – but they all complained because no one else took it on, and they missed out that year.

Whenever our neighbours go away, we collect mail and vice versa. If we see stray litter around, we pick it up. It keeps the neighbourhood looking nice. We have written encouragement cards and put them in neighbour’s letter boxes. When anyone new moves into the street, we cook them a meal, complete with everything disposable, so there is no need to worry about returning dishes or finding cutlery for the night they shift in. We also cook meals for families having babies, etc. When Matey was born, we received a beautiful surprise from the neighbourhood, friends, and church with oodles of people cooking our meals – so many that we had enough cooked meals by others for the first month.

I can remember many times juggling baby, baby gear and food as we went to the car to deliver meals to yet another person in crisis, and I would see my neighbour and her daughter out on the nature strip next to our car. This neighbour often commented how I always seemed to take meals to people. I now wish I had stopped and created room in my life back then to spend time with this neighbour and her daughter, as I believe my neighbour was crying out for someone to ‘love’ her.

When we try to be kind to others, we need to create room in our life for it to be an ongoing part of our life. Many people wish to live like this but don’t have the time to ‘be’ kind to others.

I encourage you as a family this week to brainstorm a variety of things that you could do to help someone in your street. Start by selecting the person. Once you have decided on the person, brainstorm ideas to encourage or help them. Listen to your youngest family member and try to involve your whole family.

I would love you to comment below on what you’ve done, as it helps other people with ideas and spurs us all on to do good. In this way, we are raising world changers.

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