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Raising Unselfish Children in a Self-Absorbed World


Raising Unselfish Children in a Self-Absorbed World

If only kids came with instruction manuals! That’s the heart cry of many parents who are struggling to navigate the world of raising children. Living in our modern culture only compounds the complexities as parents are forced to make thousands of little decisions to determine “How much is enough?” versus “How much is too much?” while raising their kids.

Jill Rigby tries to assist parents in her new book, RAISING UNSELFISH CHILDREN IN A SELF-ABSORBED WORLD, which attempts to equip them with tactics to help deal with the narcissism and selfishness prevalent in our society. She begins by reassessing the goal of parenting and challenging moms and dads to think about how they’re raising their kids and what they want them to become.

Drawing on timeless childhood stories like SNOW WHITE and THE SECRET GARDEN, she argues that parents have a choice to make. Will they raise their kids to become selfless grown-ups, or self-absorbed adults who can’t function well because they feel entitled? In today’s culture of excess, the change must begin at the heart level, with the parent. She invites readers to make an honest assessment of their own self-centeredness, offering a “Generosity Quotient Test” to help you determine your own level of generosity.

Then she challenges parents to devise a plan. Simple things like committing to God to raise your children to be other-centered rather than self-centered, committing to live with less to enjoy more, committing to tithe and committing to enjoy family togetherness are a few of the promises she encourages parents to make. To fulfill these commitments, Rigby advises them to get into God’s world, live with integrity and walk out their faith every day.

Rigby distinguishes between needs and wants of children, highlighting the importance of not giving into a child’s every whim. She says that it’s important to maintain control of your child and not overwhelm him or her with options. While many psychologists emphasize the importance of self-esteem, Rigby argues that it’s much more important to have God-confidence and walk in gratitude and humility. Throughout the book, Rigby highlights her teachings with statistics and anecdotes.

While many of the stories are compelling, far too few are drawn from her own experiences as a mother, leaving the reader to wonder how she handled this issue and what she learned from her mistakes. Despite this lack of personal touch and vulnerability, the book offers time-tested principles on how to raise children to be outwardly focused and confident in who they are as individuals.

While the first few chapters seem disjointed --- with scriptures thrown in without any directed analysis or tie-in --- the book gets better with each passing chapter. The appendix includes helpful resources, including a brief listing of movies great for family discussion as well as a list of state family policy councils to help you connect with government officials. For parents concerned with indecent storefront displays at their local malls, Rigby provides a list of mall management companies to call and complain to.

Parents looking to protect and guard their children from a culture of excess will applaud Rigby’s efforts.

Reviewed by Margaret Oines on April 1, 2008

Raising Unselfish Children in a Self-Absorbed World
by Jill Rigby

  • Publication Date: April 1, 2008
  • Genres: Christian, Parenting
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Howard Books
  • ISBN-10: 141655842X
  • ISBN-13: 9781416558422