I’ve made the following observation, which has been substantiated over the years by events I’ve witnessed: the child who is given the most preference of all the kids is the one who takes the least care of his or her parents.

A friend of mine was telling me the problem he has with one of his brothers: the middle one was always very sick when he was young.  Their mother worried endlessly about him surviving.  She gave all her attention to this child at the expense of the other two.

This middle brother grew up to be a very successful businessman and of the three, he is the wealthiest, but when the time comes to support the parents, he always has an excuse for why he cannot do much.

This is an example but not a lone one; in my experience it repeats itself many times.

Children learn: do they take only, or do they have to give too?

If they are raised by a maid who cleans their room, folds their laundry and cooks all their meals, if it is in one of those countries like Mexico where if you are well off, you have a maid for life, this pampering is less of a problem.  But if you live in the States, for instance, where the parents could afford the maid but the child may not be able to as an adult, that child is not capable of coping well with the world.  It appears as if this “grown up child” needs an attached “babysitter” all his or her life.  They are taught to expect preferential treatment even when it is not available or affordable.

Thus it is important that children be given assignments around the house, that they must contribute whatever is their capability depending on their age. They must learn to give and not only to take.

And the giving should not stop at the boundaries of the family.

In the Jewish tradition, there is a donation box on the table where kids put some money every Friday evening, as a donation to build the Jewish country of Israel.

Kids need to learn to give from an early age if they are going to become productive members of society.

The Sahaj Marg mission’s living Master says that love is like a muscle:  You need to exercise it.  The more you love the more able you are to love.

Generosity is one form of expressing love which needs to be developed; it needs to be exercised.  It does not automatically happen when a person becomes wealthy enough to believe that he can afford to be generous.

I have noticed that generosity and wealth are not necessarily correlated.  Some very wealthy people are stingy and some relatively poor people are generous.

People generally do what they learn at home from an early age.

To love and to give, to be generous with your belongings and with your emotions, is not an inherited trait, but a learned habit.  And the earlier you learn, the sooner you realize what it means TO BE HUMAN.