Give your children opportunities to serve their community. Incorporate community service into your lifestyle on a regular basis. Consider participating in projects like: hosting a neighborhood Bible club, collecting and delivering needed items for a homeless shelter, visiting elderly people in your area who have difficulty getting out (both those who still live at home, as well as those in facilities like nursing homes), volunteering to teach a class in something that makes use of one of your children’s talents, going Christmas caroling through your neighborhood, and thanking employees at your kids’ schools through notes and gifts.

Help your kids make a positive difference in the world. Give your children tangible ways they can contribute to the world beyond their local community, such as: working on a political campaign, writing letters to the editors of newspapers about topics in which they’re interested, contacting their elected officials about issues about which they care, and supporting global humanitarian efforts through charities working to help those in need around the world.

Parent with eternity in view. Remember that it’s not your job to make your kids happy, but it is your job to point them to the One who can make them holy. Make it a top priority to help your kids keep growing closer to Christ. Nurture their faith so that when they’re confronted with situations in which they must decide to respond either selfishly or selflessly, they’ll choose to trust God and respond with the selfless love that will bless all concerned.

Adapted from Raising Unselfish Children in a Self-Absorbed World, copyright 2008 by Jill Rigby. Published by Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, West Monroe, La., www.howardpublishing.com.   

Jill Rigby is an accomplished speaker, columnist, television personality, family advocate, and founder of Manners of the Heart Community Fund, a nonprofit organization bringing a return of civility and respect to our society. Whether equipping parents to raise responsible children, encouraging the education of the heart, or training executives in effective communication skills, Jill's definition of manners remains the same – an attitude of the heart that is self-giving, not self-serving.  She is the proud mother of twin sons.