I was talking with my mom today about adopting Haitian orphans. For a long time, I’ve thought about adopting, but the question has been pushed to the forefront with the devastation that’s taken place in Haiti. It doesn’t seem like the right time for either of our households, but it got us onto the subject of having a giving personality. I am somebody who immediately thinks, “How can I help?” My second reaction is typically more rational, as I weigh out the pros and cons, the financial cost and the impact it will have on my family. My husband immediately jumps to the rational without feeling the emotional tug . I’m wondering, as we are trying to raise compassionate and generous children, is this more of an indication of personality, or upbringing?
I was definitely raised with an ethic of service. I spoke recently with Maria Bailey about this at Bloglicious, but my mom was a teacher. She spent her days giving back and displayed the same behavior in other ways as well. I had long-time joke that all the women in my family (and extended family) were in service fields. They were almost entirely teachers and nurses. They worked hard and cared deeply about their work. I started volunteering in my early teens and never stopped. It’s an integral part of who I am as a person. I’m not sure if my husband had that same environment and I don’t think he’s done much, if any, volunteer work. On the other hand, he’s quick to help out if someone asks. He just doesn’t necessarily seek out ways to give back.
I’m sure I’m not the only parent out there who wants to raise children that care about other people beyond just their immediate friends and family. I’d love to hear how your thoughts on the subject and how your family fosters that in your kids.