As much as I’d love to see my kids succeed in life and live comfortably in their adult years, given the choice between kindness and money, I’ll choose kindness every time. I’d MUCH rather raise kids with rich hearts than rich bank accounts.
I’d Rather Raise Kids with Rich Hearts Than Rich Bank Accounts
I saw this great quote from Danielle Sherman-Lazar of Living Full. It said, “I’d rather my kids be the ones who’re average in school and sports but hold the door open for a teacher with too much in her hands. Comfort a crying classmate. Invite everyone to their table. I want my kids to be the kind kids above anything else. Because that’s how they’ll change the world. “
We’ve talked in the past about how to raise kids that grow up to change the world. I’ve also talked a bit about what I value more than having a straight-A student. I feel like that quote really pulls it all together, though, and defines the ONE trait that will help our kids turn this world into a much better place: kindness.
A world filled with kindness is a world filled with peace
If you look at all of the human-made problems in the world right now, they all really come down to one thing: an uncompassionate society. Too many people care too little about others. Too many have an “it’s all about me” mentality with philosophies that include words like “it’s not my responsibility…” and “why should I have to…”
Can you imagine, if everyone in the world was filled with compassionate people with rich hearts, though? No more wars because kind people don’t need to dominate each other (which is really what every conflict is truly about). No more hunger because we’d make sure that there’s enough food to go around. We’d live in peace and harmony.
Okay, so maybe it wouldn’t be all rainbows and unicorns and holding hands around the campfire. I’m not naïve enough to think that we’d fix everything just by raising kind kids. You have to admit, though, that a world filled with kindness would be a lot nicer than the one we currently have, right?
Kindness is the ONLY trait that will truly change this world
Kindness isn’t just one of the traits that will change the world, it’s the ONLY one that can. Perhaps right about now you’re thinking, “Rich hearts are nice and all, but you’re naïve if you think it’s enough to change the world! For that, you need MONEY!”
Well, smarty-pants, you’re half-right. Yes, money is a key factor in changing the world. We need it to feed the hungry, house the homeless, give care to the sick, and so on. However, it takes true kindness to use one’s wealth to help others. Without rich hearts driving us to help others, all the money in the world won’t make a bit of difference.
One look at some of the world’s wealthiest people will tell you that it’s possible to have a huge bank account and a totally bankrupt heart. Not all of them, mind you. Without naming names or making this political, some of them actually do have hearts the size of their bank account. Some…not so much.
For the record (because I know at least one person is thinking it), I’m not saying you have to raise your kids to work hard and then hand over every penny that they make. It’s not an all-or-nothing thing. They can be both kind and successful.
I’m just saying focus on kindness first. You can teach anyone the skills needed to be successful at pretty much any point in their lives, but you have a very small window of opportunity to teach your kids to be kind and compassionate.
Kindness wins every time
Maybe you’re wondering, “how does all of this relate to a quote about raising kids to be kind instead of pressuring them to get straight As?” I get it, I did kind of veer off in a roundabout direction there, but I promise, it fits.
Ask any parent why they push their kids so hard to get perfect grades or to do well in sports, and you’ll get one of two answers. One, they’re trying to instill a good work ethic so that their kids will be successful and make good money later in life. Two, they’re trying to make sure their kids get into a good college…so they can be successful and make more money later in life.
So really, it does come down to money. We want our kids to succeed. We don’t want them to suffer, to struggle to make ends meet, to know what it’s like to choose between paying the electric bill or the rent. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that at all.
The thing is, we can “instill work ethic” without demanding perfection, and they can get into a good college without straight. My friend got Bs and Cs in high school (and even a few Ds), went to a local small college, then spent a year as a bartender before finally deciding what he really wanted to do with his life. Today, he’s a founding partner in a successful law firm AND gives back to his community through pro bono work and volunteering.
Kind kids are already changing the world!
Still don’t think that kind kids can change the world AND be successful? Well, guess what? They already are, and these kids below prove it!
- Jahkil Jackson was just 8 when he set out to help the homeless by creating “Blessings Bags” filled with essentials. Today, at 13, he’s a successful motivational speaker and founder of Project I Am, which has helped over 35,000 people around the world.
- Robbie Novak, aka “Kid President” turned his passion for positivity into a national brand, proving that you can spread messages of love and still be a huge success in the process.
- Greta Thunberg’s kindness towards the planet earned her a Nobel Peace Prize.
- Ryan Hickman was only THREE when his compassion for marine animals drove him to start Ryan’s Recycling Company (with his parents’ help, obviously). Now 10, he’s won over 35 awards and was named one of OC Register’s 100 Most Influential People.
- At 17, Zuriel Oduwole already had 7 documentaries on her filmmaking resume. Her success springs from her passion for helping other girls in Africa.
These are just a few examples. There are so many other kids out there who are changing the world with kindness and compassion while also making a name for themselves.
So yes, your kids can succeed financially without straight As. However, they can’t succeed as decent human beings without kindness. That’s why, given the choice between raising kind kids and raising perfect students, I’ll always, always, always choose kindness. And so should you.