A preschool classroom was turned into a study on heroism by Ervin Staub, a leading researcher in altruism. The teacher left the room and after a few moments a crash was heard from the room next door, then a child began crying. At least 50% of the time, at least one preschooler ran to help. As the study continued with subsequent grades, 90% of second graders ran next door, but by sixth grade, only 30% left their seats to help.

No wonder we have a shortage of heroes! What can we do as parents to ensure that our children will run to help? Here are a few suggestions:

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* Give your child a few pennies to share whenever someone asks. Drop a coin in the box at McDonald’s. Buy an extra canned good for the food barrel.

* Say a prayer with your child the next time you hear a siren or see an emergency. Show them how to think outside themselves by watching for others in need.

* Encourage compassion for animals. Help your child take care of a pet, teaching responsibility and unselfishness.

* Watch for opportunities to teach service. Even young children can open car doors for the elderly or befriend the child who’s left out by others.

* Serve alongside your children as they grow up. Allow them to experience the joy of volunteerism. Show your children that you are the first to help others.

Most of all…fill your children with love. A confident child, who is secure in the love of his parent, will overflow with love for others. Children love and give as they have been loved.

Who is your hero? Who is that person that commands your respect? Who is the person whose life holds you to a higher standard? That’s what real heroes do…they touch us so deeply that we examine ourselves. We want to try harder, live with greater gusto, and change our ways.

We look for the person who lives unselfishly. The one who gives of himself to help others with very little to gain. The one who makes the world a better place by being here.

The world needs more heroes. With your loving guidance your child can become our country’s next great hero. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to raise a hero?

You can do it…

tyJill Rigby Garner, character education and parenting expert, and nonprofit founder, is also a dynamic speaker, award-winning author, and the publisher of character education programs and books for students, educators, and parents. Through her speaking engagements, Jill motivates her listeners to action. A former single mom, Jill’s passion fosters transformative change. Jill is a highly regarded expert and has appeared on the CBS Early Show, CNN, Focus on the Family, Family Life Today, a monthly segment on local WAFB, and over 350 radio shows across the country. For more information, visit www.mannersoftheheart.org.


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The Life of a Single Mom is a national, faith-based, nonprofit that exists to see that no single mom walks alone. To date, we have worked with more than 1,500 churches & community groups to start or improve a single mom’s support group in cities throughout the U.S. and beyond. We have a large array of books, curriculum, training materials, and online instructional videos to support ministry leaders who lead single moms. Our single mom programs focus on empowering single moms to grow spiritually, emotionally, financially, and parentally through a number of projects including: Single Mom University, Single Moms Across America, the National TLSM Single Moms Conference, and a variety of programs throughout the U.S. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com