I facilitated a class of 13-year-olds and one boy shared how once in a while he helps the maid to lay his bed. He sleeps in his bed, he wakes up from his bed, and once in a while, he will help the maid to make that bed which he sleeps in.

Recently, someone asked me whether its possible to raise children in what we can call a ‘privileged ‘environment and yet that child maintains a very humble and ‘down to earth’ spirit. I tried to imagine a home that has at the bare minimum three maids, television access in all rooms complete with wifi connection. Can one be raised with so much access and yet grow up to be disciplined, responsible and most of all humble? Do the two even have a core relation?
Is having unlimited access bad? Is it too much for a child to lay their bed?

Someone once told me that there was no need for children to learn skills like house mopping or dish washing because in the years to come such chores will be done by machines? When my friend asked me about humility in the midst of abundance and full access i thought long and hard and concluded that a lot depended on the parents. I firmly believe in the notion of being a deliberate and available parent.

This parenting journey is interesting; some days are clearer than others and on some days it feels like the cards just tumbled and came crushing down with a loud bang.

Perhaps one of the most useful tips for me has been the application of common sense. Is it common sense for a child who sleeps in the bed to think they are helping the maid to lay it? Common decency requires that a child is taught independent respectful behaviour.
One of my friends told me that during meal times, all phones in her house are handed to her without exception. On the weekends we all take part in house cleaning with the children taking on the much bigger load. Each can comfortably mop a big chunk of the house and recently the younger child was introduced to doing part of his laundry, an activity he doesn’t seem to enjoy and is trying to negotiate his way out of. I was quick to remind him especially since he is the type who wont mind using a fresh towel daily that he was being totally selfish and self centred to find trouble with his dirty stuff and yet he finds such ease in disposing it off for someone else to clean.

A child can grow up with a humble spirit despite being surrounded with abundance because humility is an attitude. This attitude must be informed, nurtured and emphasised by a parent who believes its important to have a humble spirit anyway. No matter how much you have or own, if your attitude stinks, you could as well have owned nothing.

-jmabola@yahoo.com