I know that I have said this many times before, but Sally Clarkson's writings challenge and refresh me as a mother on SO many levels. I absolutely LOVE her blog and hope to some day soon own all of her books. Please read this and let her words minister to your heart. The view she presents here is refreshing, to say the least.
"When we dote on our children to be sure all of their needs are met and to see that they don’t miss out on any opportunity, we can be in danger of making them self-centered and self-absorbed. Giving our children opportunities to serve and give (at church in the toddler’s classes, baking cookies or bread for neighbors, visiting the local Home for the elderly (we used to give a once a month birthday party for all the elderly people in a home near us with a friend and her children–her idea–we made cards, a cake and created a party for all of them to attend.) Hosting teas in our home, collecting clothes and toys for families who are needy and then spending time as friends with them, serving at conferences, (our children started out very young giving chocolates to the moms who came to register at the conferences–our boys carried luggage.) Taking meals to a new family on the block. Visiting in the hospital and bringing flowers–all help our children learn to be thoughtful and to perceive themselves as givers. When we include them in the work, and let them have ideas, and bless them afterward, they gain a self-image of themselves as a person who has something to give–and whose giving makes a difference in the lives of others. Learning to serve and give is one of the most important character practices we can give to our children in a narcisstic culture which promotes selfishness of every kind."