My wife and I still laugh about our good intentions about discouraging violent play between our children. We gravely pledged that we would not buy them toy guns. We didn’t. So they just made their own guns out of Legos to shoot each other. When we took the Legos away, they killed each other each day with their fingers. We sighed and gave up. To this day they have a massive Nerf arsenal.
You might think it will be the same battle trying to teach kids not to be selfish. How can you stop people from looking out for their own interests? Isn’t that human nature? Isn’t that a critically important survival skill?
Parents, don’t shrink from this struggle. Worship of Self is the most basic kind of idolatry: “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice” (James 3:13-16).
Our Savior loved and served other people above himself. We must teach our kids to do no less . . . to make other people feel important . . . to think ahead of the impact of their actions . . . to notice if anybody around them is struggling and straggling.
Encourage and reward servant hearts in your kids. Eventually they’ll get it.