Teaching Children To Love Their Neighbors
Heart to Heart

      Recently, while out shopping, we met a young man who had been homeschooled all his life who acknowledged my son’s hello with a barely visible nod. This was far different from another homeschooled young man who actually ran up to us at a mall to specifically say hello to me. Now I know the first young man to be very quiet, but you know what, even shyness is not an excuse for bad manners.

      Sonia was extremely shy with strangers when she was younger. Because she looked so much like Shirley Temple with her tight ringlets, every time we were out, people would stop to make over her. She hated all the attention, so when they talked with her, she would remain dead silent while looking them over from head to toe. Well, she may not have enjoyed all the attention, but we could not allow her to continue to be so rude. Therefore, we had to spank her for her disobedience to our command to respond to everyone with congeniality. My friend has a little boy who refused to address us when we visited, so she spanked him until he would say hi.

      Shyness is being self-centered, for the person is thinking of himself and not the other person; therefore, it should not be tolerated. God tells us that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves and often speaks on how we are to be kind and respectful. This should be the motive for every parent to train his children to treat others with kindness and consideration.

      As a child, my mother and father trained me to respect my elders and show them honor. Whenever I went into a room, I went to my elders and addressed them with the utmost respect and politeness because I felt that it was my duty. To this day, I continue to honor my elders and go to them to speak words of greetings, encouragement, thanks, and appreciation.

      Not only have we trained our children to be friendly, but we have also told them that it is their duty to go up to adults they know and say hello and to thank those adults who have invited them to their home or activity or invested in their lives in any way. They are also to open doors for others, help the elderly and younger children, and speak with respect to everyone they meet. This is nothing more than fulfilling their duty to “love thy neighbor as thyself.”