A wise person in the book of Proverbs states, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
Yes, your actions speak louder than your words. So, if you want your child or grandchild or niece or nephew to be sensitive, caring persons when they become adults, you can train them to be caregivers when they are children. Here are three ideas to help you do this:
Model caregiving. Talk about caregiving, and then let them see you actually caring for others. It is so true: “Actions speak louder than words.” For example; a part of our family Christmas celebration is always a project to help those who are suffering. Some years we put together Church World Service kits for individuals living in developing countries. At various times as a family we make cookies or a meal for a lonely or grieving person.
Get them involved. Get the young ones in your life involved in the actual caregiving of others. For example, children are welcomed guests at nursing homes. My mother lived in a nursing home for 6 ½ years and as I visited her each week, I noticed that whenever a baby or a small child arrived, everyone was energized and excited. Everyone wanted to touch and talk to him or her. Frequently my two little nieces would come with their mom to visit Grandma Wolfe. They brought smiles and pleasure to her and to others. They massaged her hands with hand lotion, read to her and pushed her in her wheelchair. The little girls thought it was so much fun!
Watch your attitude. If one suggests through body language or actual words negative feelings like, “I sure don’t feel like visiting Aunt Edna in the nursing home today. Nursing homes are so depressing!” then children will remember that nursing homes are depressing, and visiting Aunt Edna today is going to be boring.
Your actions do indeed speak louder than your words. Today, give thought to how you can help build the next generation of caregivers.